FAMILY IS A CRUEL JOKE.
After trying to kill himself, struggling L.A. actor Milo (Bill Hader) moves in with his estranged sister (Kristen Wiig) and her husband (Luke Wilson) in New York. The director’s second feature was a hit at Sundance and provides a perfect showcase for the two former Saturday Night Live talents in the leads; their friendship makes them very believable as brother and sister trying to repair their relationship. At the core of it, this is obviously a dark story about the shortcomings of our lives, but it also has plenty of charm and laughs, including an irresistible rendition of Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. Appropriately autumnal locations in Halloween time.
2014-U.S. 93 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Stephanie Langhoff, Jennifer Lee, Jacob Pechenik. Directed by Craig Johnson. Screenplay: Mark Heyman, Craig Johnson. Cast: Kristen Wiig (Maggie), Bill Hader (Milo), Luke Wilson (Lance), Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason.
Trivia: Anna Faris was allegedly first cast.
Last word: “I could never do a fully improvised movie — there’s some filmmakers that do that, they just write an 8-page treatment and go off and do it. That would freak me out too much, so I always have a script that’s really specifically written, but then once we get on set I love it when actors riff on the lines and ad-lib things and put things into their own words. I encourage them to do that whenever they want, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll pull them back onto the script, or sometimes, there’s a few instances where I say I’d like to do this just on-book, as it’s written. But I find that improv, when working with such world-class improvisers – it just makes everything better. It makes everything more real, natural, and really a lot more funny. I mean, some of the funniest stuff, for me, in ‘Skeleton Twins’, is some of the improvised stuff.” (Johnson, Salon)