‘Person to Person’ can’t make a connection


Writer-director Dustin Guy Defa achieves something quite remarkable in “Person to Person”: A dialogue-driven film following more than a dozen characters during the course of one day in New York City, with not one convincing situation or performance.

When you have actors such as Michael Cera, Philip Baker Hall and rising comedian/actress Abbi Jacobson, that’s hard to do.

Cera and Jacobson are newspaper reporters, and it’s clear they never did a lick of research or have ever been in a newsroom. Heck, watching a good newspaper movie like “Spotlight” would have yielded a pointer or two. They find themselves investigating a suicide that could be murder, with an antique shop owner/watch repairman (Hall) possibly providing a valuable clue, as they follow a suspicious-acting widow (Michaela Watkins) and two NYPD detectives assigned to the case.

There are three other main threads: Two girls (Tavi Gevinson, Olivia Luccardi) skip high school for the day, discuss their increasingly strained relationship and hang out with a couple of guys; a collector of rare records (Bene Coopersmith) is trying to track down a crook (Buddy Duress) who sold him a fake rare Charlie Parker record; and the collector’s roommate (George Sample III) is in hot water with his ex-girlfriend (Marsha Stephanie Blake) and her brother (Brian Tyree Henry) after he posts nude pictures of her online in revenge for the breakup.

Despite these plotlines that suggest dramatic conflict, “Person to Person” is an oddly low-key, almost gentle film with characters generating no real threat to do anything interesting. At 84 minutes, it seems padded out.

It actually evokes the feeling of an indie film from the 1990s, shot on 16mm and following a group of quirky characters (a la “Slacker” or “The Daytrippers,” two superior movie from that era).

In this case, the Big Apple has never looked so small and inconsequential.

‘PERSON TO PERSON’

Grade: D

Starring: Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson, Philip Baker Hall

Rating: Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Theaters: AFS Cinema



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Movies & TV

Feeling brave this Halloween? Can you prove it by eating bugs?
Feeling brave this Halloween? Can you prove it by eating bugs?

You’ve heard about bug-eating, right? Aketta is an Austin-based company that sells crickets and cricket powder. Contributed by Aketta Even though we’re all eating bugs (and parts of bugs) pretty much every day of the year, there’s a growing entomophagy movement afoot to get more people to eat insects, including...
‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child
‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child

“Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage and his wife, Erica Schmidt, welcomed their second child, Us Weekly reported Friday. It is the second child for the couple. Their daughter was born in 2011, Us Weekly reported. The couple did not publicly confirm the second pregnancy, but Us Weekly confirmed they were spotted with their newborn...
What's a good coffee grinder for a tiny space?
What's a good coffee grinder for a tiny space?

The Washington Post Food staff recently answered questions about all things edible. The following are edited excerpts. Recipes whose names are capitalized can be found in the Recipe Finder at washingtonpost.com/recipes. A: I recently bought the Hario Mini Mill hand grinder. It's slim, easy to use, and it produces uniform coffee grounds, which is what...
Recipe of the Week: Japanese chicken skewers or meatballs? You decide
Recipe of the Week: Japanese chicken skewers or meatballs? You decide

Thanks to an influx of Japanese yakitori restaurants, Americans are becoming familiar with the skewered meats typically served there. In many places, you’ll find strips of meat threaded onto a skewer, but this yakitori is a good example of tsukune, the meatball-like chicken patties you can grill on sticks. Tim Anderson, the author of “JapanEasy...
Dinges: Fox 7 promotes from within to fill ‘Good Day’ anchor slot
Dinges: Fox 7 promotes from within to fill ‘Good Day’ anchor slot

Reporter Tania Ortega, a regular presence on Fox 7’s morning newscasts for almost five years now, is taking over as anchor of the weekend editions of “Good Day Austin.” Ortega replaces Ann Wyatt Little, who recently left to work as an anchor/reporter at sister Fox station WJZY in Charlotte, N.C. “Tania has covered everything...
More Stories