In “Together Together”, Ed Helms stars as Matt, a single guy in his 40s who decides he’s going to finally have a baby, using a surrogate. In the opening scene, he’s interviewing 26-year-old Anna (Patti Harrison). She’s chosen to carry and bring Matt’s child into the world. This story chronicles the highs and lows of the relationship between these two strangers over the next nine months, as they share a unique and special experience.
The first 20-30 minutes of “Together Together” are a bit rough. Writer/director Nikole Beckwith force feeds us obvious, unfunny, awkward situations and conversations – stuff that only happens in movies — in all the typical locations: a restaurant, hospital waiting room, therapist office. The sub-par material pushes Helms and Harrison to try too hard. It’s a difficult first trimester.
But then, miraculously,“Together Together” finds its rhythm. The material goes from cringeworthy to clever. Suddenly there’s purpose and an appropriate tone. Helms and Harrison begin to mesh — and “Together, Together” becomes one of the most enjoyable films of 2021.
When done well, male/female non-romantic relationship stories can be very attractive. Thankfully, this is one of those cases. Here there’s a 20-year age difference. The characters come from distinctly different backgrounds. Yet, they’re going through this extraordinary together (together), sharing one basic thing in common: the need to love and be loved.
Beckwith’s impressive (two thirds of a) screenplay offers unique perspectives on a pairing and dynamic rarely (if ever) explored on screen, from both sides — the surrogate and the expectant, single father. Several scenes deliver spot-on societal commentary and emotional punch.
Following the early troubles, the dialogue is smart and the pop culture references are natural and authentic. These range from a “Friends” binge, to parenting books, to health food. Anna’s critiques of classic Woody Allen films is a highlight (look for an Allen influence in the opening and closing credits, as well).
I just wish, before shooting began, that Beckwith went back and re-wrote the first 30-minutes, employing the same delicate touch she used with the rest of the script. But even so, this is a charming, offbeat film that’s absolutely worth seeing. And I guarantee it will leave you wanting more.
LCJ GRADE: B
Running Time: 90 min.