Review: Run screaming from Krasinski’s ‘The Hollars’

Director-star John Krasinski piles up the quirks in this hapless comic-drama about a family dealing with big issues

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Here’s the good news: “The Hollars” has the feel of a Cameron Crowe movie.

Here’s the bad news: It feels like one of his latter-era movies, where nothing comes together and the soundtrack keeps clobbering you over the head.

“The Hollars” was directed by and stars John Krasinski, who appeared in Crowe’s “Aloha,” one of the decade’s biggest misfires. The stink of that disaster is all over “The Hollars,” a hapless comic drama about a wacky family falling apart, but pulling it together because we’re all just doing our best at life, man, ya know?

Krasinski stars as John Hollar, who returns home to the Midwest when his mother (Margo Martindale) suffers a seizure and is admitted into the hospital.

Dad (Richard Jenkins) is struggling to keep it together at work and at home, and John’s brother Ron (Sharlto Copley) is back home after his recent divorce. (His ex-wife is remarried to a character played by Josh Groban, which is its own insult.)

“The Hollars” tries to find comedy in the tragic, but winds up creating its own tragedies, like when a spontaneous Indigo Girls sing-along breaks out in Mom’s hospital room.

The quirks keep piling up like cars in a freeway accident, as threads — including one involving John’s ex, Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) — are dropped as quickly as they’re introduced.

Meanwhile, the plaintive indie folk songs of Josh Ritter (also featured on the “Aloha” soundtrack!) fill in the emotional gaps that Krasinski can’t quite juggle.

It adds up to a big mess disguised as warm comfort food. “The Hollars” will make you want to scream.


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‘The Hollars’


Rated PG-13 for brief language and some thematic material

Running time: 105 minutes