Billy Crystal isn’t a name you hear thrown around much anymore, but the actor gives one of his best performances in “Standing Up Falling Down,” a delightful little charmer from director Matt Ratner. The story is a familiar crowd-pleaser, but the relatable humor, funny scenarios, and down-to-earth writing elevate this film above the rest.
After spending years in Los Angeles chasing his dream of being a stand-up comic, cynical thirtysomething Scott (Ben Schwartz) realizes his fantasy life isn’t likely to come true. Faced with a career that’s going nowhere, he travels back to his childhood home in Long Island and moves back in with his parents. Thrust back into his early years, Scott hangs out with his high school buddies and pines for the “one that got away,” the now-married Becky (Eloise Mumford). While out one night at the local bar, Scott strikes up a conversation with Marty (Crystal), a lonely, 65-year-old dermatologist with a drinking problem and family issues. Bonding over past regrets and facing current failures, the two become friends and give each other advice on everything from relationships to stress hives.
While this sounds like a cutesy plot, the film is so much more than it appears on the surface due to a sincerity that’s from the heart. The pitch-perfect, realistic writing and dialogue (from screenwriter Peter Hoare) is refreshing and authentic. He knows how to write real men, and he nails the accuracy of what it’s like to go home as an underachieving adult. The entire cast has a winning chemistry, and I found myself instantly rooting for Ben and Marty to turn their lives around.
The best source of humor is real life, and “Standing Up, Falling Down” is one of the more delightful, comfortable, and enjoyable films I’ve seen this year. This story of two loners who find friendship through their flaws will make you smile, even in its most predictable moments.
By: Louisa Moore