It's funny the things we find out after a loved one has died. Sometimes we find out at the funeral - like my family did following the death of my maternal grandfather. Sometimes we find just before the funeral - like my family did following the death of my paternal grandfather. But generally we find out after the funeral - like my family did following the death of my paternal grandmother.


Uh, yes... I had one screwed up family. But so do most people; I haven't met one family that wasn't dysfunctional!


That is what makes "People Like Us" an easy film to relate to. Because somewhere down the line we remember gasping when we found out that Uncle Rufus, or Grandpa Jimmy, or Cousin Bert... had something on the side we didn't know about.

Chris Pine is Sam who is, in his own right, a screw-up. He is a salesman that has just made a deal that falls completely apart and put's his employer in trouble. Trouble as in Federal Trade Commission trouble.


His boss (played by Jon Favreau) isn't pleased and is willing to give Sam to the FTC if Sam can't fix it. To add to his day, Sam learns that his estranged record producing father died.


Begrudgingly, he returns home to the rest of his estranged family to get his father's estate in order. An estate that is essentially broke. Something that is of no real shock to his hot mother Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer) as she had grown tired of her late husbands misgivings.


While thumbing through his dads belongings, he comes across a leather bag with $150,000 and instructions to give the money to an up-til-now unheard of older sister named Frankie.

Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) is a bartender and reforming alcoholic. In fact, during the course of tailing her he follows her to an AA meeting where, he befriends her. At no point in time has he revealed whom he really is, or his purpose, but he gets to know her. Especially after his girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) heads back home.


He learns more and more about her - mainly from her son - and reveals very little about himself. So we are to decide whether or not he is going to keep the money he sorely needs or give it to her.


However, as they get to know each other his feelings seem to change from half-sister to hot single chick.


This probably would have worked except director Alex Kurtzman (writer of "Star Trek", "Mission Impossible 3", "Legend of Zorro") dragged it on too long. You can only play the "I have a secret, and I'm not gonna tell you" routine so long before it gets tiring.


To her credit Banks gives a remarkable performance, Pfeiffer is great as always and the support cast including Mark Duplass are to be commended. Pine however seemed a bit out of his element and didn't seem comfortable.


"People Like Us" will leave you unsatisfied and disconnected once the characters become unrealistic. It goes on too long and settles for sappy instead of realistic.   -- GEOFF BURTON