Smarmy Garbage: Our Review of ‘All My Life’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - December 04, 2020
Smarmy Garbage: Our Review of ‘All My Life’

Sometimes movies make you sad for all the WRONG reasons…

We really want to like movies like All My Life; especially when they are based on a true story but in the shitstorm of a year that has been 2020, this is easily the mostly cloying, nonsensical piece of garbage put on the screen that wasn’t elected to a political office.

Jennifer Carter (Jessica Rothe) and Solomon Chau (Harry Shum Jr) is a sweet, fun-loving, newly engaged couple whose whole life seems ahead of them. However, when Sol is diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in December, their plans for a summer wedding become impossible. In a race against time, Jenn and Sol’s friends and family launch an online fundraiser to help the couple create their dream wedding in just two weeks. In the process, they unleash an outpouring of generosity and attention from people around the world who want to celebrate the power of love with them. Through it all, Jenn and Sol’s commitment to each other only deepens, becoming a heartwarming reminder that the strength of true love knows no limits.

Please allow us to be crystal clear.  Here at In The Seats, we love…love.  Part of what we do is to celebrate what we love in the form of the moving image and very specifically cinema but even we have our limits.

All My Life is quite possibly one of the weakest written and most poorly executed films we’ve seen this year.  We’re not angry about it, we’re actually pretty sad about it because this nice story which is based on something that actually happened…just flat out sucked because of weak casting and non-existent writing.

Director Marc Meyers has done some interesting stuff in the past; all be it nothing that really moved the needle that much, except for maybe his 2017 My Friend Dahmer so we can’t honestly say that this is really his fault.  It’s all competently staged and looks fine but it fails so epically on so many other levels that you just can’t help but feel bad for the guy stuck with this weak material and it almost feels like it was directed on auto-pilot or by someone more than a little depressed.

First time screenwriter Todd Rosenberg is playing from the sad yet uplifting romance playbook like it’s a paint by numbers colouring place mat given to kids in chain restaurants.  Don’t get us wrong, that’s not always a bad thing but this all plays in such a dull and rote fashion that we can never get into the material thanks to some very basic writing that feels like it’s being read off a generic dollar store greeting card and an ensemble cast that can’t elevate the material above much of anything.

To her credit, you can at least tell that Jessica Rothe is TRYING to bring up the material.  It’s just not in her wheel house yet because while she does have a real on screen presence about her that could generate chemistry with almost anyone, she never achieves any kind of lift off because acting is a two way street and she has nothing to work with.

Harry Shum Jr. is just dead air opposite Rothe in this and while it could be the material or even the direction, it really just feels like no one involved in all this was capable of any real world drama.  Together they might have pulled something off in a light rom-com, but in a serious romantic cancer drama…I’m sorry but neither of you have those tools in the shed quite yet and both actor’s felt not only mismatched with the material but overmatched by it because they really couldn’t do much of anything with it.

To be honest, I’m not really sure if anything in All My Life really goes right?

Not even the 14 year old girl demographic who buys into these kinds of stories would be able to get on board for this one. I’m sure everyone meant well, but it just doesn’t work on any level.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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