The whole thing was "from the mind of FJ," setting and plot that I had previously known only from her descriptions. The cast, too, all seemed celebritized. Imagine what it might be like to have a BBQ with the cast of Arrested Development or to have a serious conversation with those guys from Duck Dynasty. Not bad, right? Fun for the most part but definitely surreal or detached—especially if you knew you wouldn't be doing it again, at least not for a long time.
There were moments of comedy—sitcom-esque—like when I tried to compliment mom's cooking only to realize she had no idea I was I talking to her...because she doesn't speak much English.
And at least one moment of suspense when FJ's father, the perceived villain of the film, began to descend the stairs while I was in their living room. There was momentary panic as FJ rushed me outside and we walked down the block. It was dark. Their subdivision was lit by well-spaced streetlights but the kind that are higher than they need to be in a feeble attempt to spread the light over a larger area—especially with those eco-bulbs. As we walked back a figure—a hulking silhouette holding something under its arm. "Is that your dad?" I asked. FJ gripped my hand tighter and our pace slowed. The figure approached with lumbering plods. "Shit, it's him," she said. The streetlight made it hard to see his complexion or face. At any second we would run into the trees. But it wasn't him and the silhouette passed us with a nod and a smile.
I'm glad to have seen this movie. It's an important genre-film. But I'll need some serious time before the sequel. And so will FJ, I think.
Two & 1/2 stars.