HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS
Director: Michael Showalter
Starring: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Tyne Daly, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Natasha Lyonne, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Gallagher
I am not ashamed to admit that I love Sally Field. Always have and always will. We’ve seen her giving life advice to Forrest Gump, putting Abraham Lincoln in his place, as a flying nun, Gidget, and Norma Rae. Hello, My Name is Doris is a completely different kind of film for her. After the death of her mother, Doris Miller seems a bit lost. She lived a simple life taking care of her mom and doing data entry work for some publication. She’s a bit of a hoarder and is feeling pressured by her brother (Root) and sister-in-law (McLendon-Covey) to finally move out of the family house. The standard day at the office starts off on the right track one day when she shares a crowded elevator with a hot young gentleman (Greenfield). Doris becomes a bit gaga over him only to find out his name is John and he’s the new art director at her work. Hot boss alert! She starts daydreaming about making out with him to the point where she’s becoming a klutz at work.
After listening to a motivational speaker (Gallagher), she gets the courage to live in the moment and start pursuing him. She learns how to Facebook stalk a person and gets clued in on his interests in an attempt to win him over. Even though John’s charming and adorable, he’s a bit clueless that his middle-aged co-worker is putting the moves on him. She continues down this rabbit hole of awkwardness and self-discovery despite the lack of support from her best friend, Roz (Daly).
We’re used to Sally Field taking on such heavy Oscar caliber films, so it’s nice to see someone of this stature play such a cuckoo role. There are sad and cringe worthy qualities to Doris. She could have easily been an annoying character brought on by some sitcom writer. The thing about Field is that she has that maternal side to her with every role she takes on. It’s that quality that makes her characters lovable and relatable. She, along with some of her quirkier moments, reminded me of a few people I know. They shall remain nameless here, but they will get it when they see the movie. The premise may seem a little silly, but there is resonance at hand when you trace the other Doris-like qualities to people in your life. Maybe in some ways Doris is your mom or grandma or co-worker. I just had to laugh and nod my head along as I envision getting to that point in my life where either I’m the hoarder or I’m telling loved ones to finally get rid of that item in the closet.
Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer) directed the film and co-wrote it with Laura Terruso. Showalter can have an oddball sense to him if you’re familiar with his work. He’s landed a bit of a cult following, and I guarantee you that 95% of the audience going to this movie will have no idea who he is and will probably never watch anything else he’s been a part of. I should state to Showalter fans that this is a little bit more mainstream for him. At times it does feel a bit like a one-joke movie. There are some easy jokes along the way regarding the generational gap between the two characters. There’s a running gag about how John’s hipster friends find Doris and her style vintage and cool. When you get down to the heart of the movie, it has that coming of age aspect to it. We’ve seen countless movies about teenage coming of age, but it’s not as common at the other end of the age spectrum. It’s never too late to start a new phase of your life. Doris holds on to the past and has a hard time saying goodbye. John is the extreme catalyst that gives her that bolt to try something new.
As John, Max Greenfield is so completely charming and adorable in every scene. His smile is just contagious. There is no question why Doris becomes hot and heavy over him. He made a name for himself on the FOX show New Girl and appeared briefly in The Big Short and FX’s American Horror Story Hotel. The wonderful Tyne Daly fills the best friend role along with Wendi McLendon-Covey and Stephen Root as members of her family.
There was an ad before my screening about “movies for grown-ups”. It was an AARP ad featuring a variety of A-list actors proclaiming their love for making these kinds of movies. There is definitely an audience for a movies like Hello, My Name is Doris, The Intern, or even Mr. Holmes. When so many movies in theaters are sequels, blockbusters, or superhero movies, you need movies that cater toward a different demographic. This film won’t be winning anysort of awards, but that’s not the point. It’s a sweet little adult comedy that will make you laugh and smile thanks to the incomparable Sally Field.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Doris is another winning role Field can add to her lengthy resume.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS