People Like Us (12A) - Family drama brought to life
Home is where the heartache is in Alex Kurtzman's semi-autobiographical drama, which opens a family's cupboard and finds skeletons aplenty.
A son estranged from his duplicitous father; a mother concealing personal tragedy; a secret love child ravaged by addiction; and a troubled boy raging against school bullies: these are the dysfunctional archetypes of the soap opera.
People Like Us is an engaging yet formulaic ensemble piece, which marks the directorial debut of the Star Trek and Transformers screenwriter.
Strong performances from the female leads compensate for haphazard plotting, uneven pacing, flimsy characterisation and occasional detours from logic.
Elizabeth Banks plunders the emotional depths of her ballsy single parent.
Meanwhile, a luminous Michelle Pfeiffer embraces her role as a steely matriarch.
Sam (Chris Pine), a fast-talking salesman untroubled by ethics, learns that his estranged 63-year-old father (Dean Chekvala) has died from cancer.
His girlfriend Hannah (Olivia Wilde) makes the necessary arrangements to ensure he attends the funeral in Los Angeles.
The reunion with his mother Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer) is tense and to rub salt into Sam's old wounds, he inherits nothing more in the will than his father's vinyl collection and old leather shaving bag.
But inside the bag, Sam discovers $150,000 and instructions to deliver the money to someone called Josh Davis.
Sam heads to a motel where he finds troubled 11-year-old Josh (Michael Hall D'Addario), whose single mother Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) is a recovering alcoholic.
She conceals a secret that rocks Sam's world and forces him to re-evaluate his priorities.