Thirteen Conversations About One Thing | Chicago Reader

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Five different stories about people searching for happiness intersect in subtle ways unnoticed by the characters. A college professor's marriage is coming apart. A district attorney hits a pedestrian with his BMW and flees the scene. An embittered cynic becomes obsessed with his always happy coworker. A sweet-natured house cleaner is tested when she gets involved in an accident. And everyone talks about the big questions: What is happiness? Do things happen for a reason? Can we shape our destiny? The script, by director Jill Sprecher and her sister Karen Sprecher, is uneven, sometimes forcing the talented cast to make lumbering pronouncements like “Amazing things happen all the time” and “Underneath it all, maybe we all want the same things.” The Sprechers may want us to think about things, but their script never gives us a chance. There are some nice performances, particularly from Alan Arkin as the cynic and Clea DuVall as the naive maid, but after a while the overall mood of quiet despair is numbing. 102 min.

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