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Nobody Walks

The mumblecore subgenre does such a fine job of capturing the tedium of everyday life that its films tend to blur together like foggy memories of weeks where nothing particularly interesting happened. Nobody Walks is Mumblecore 2.0: The budget is bigger, the cast is littered with recognizable faces from popular television programs, and the production values are more impressive, but the fixation with the low-key, artsy angst of rudderless twenty- and thirtysomethings remains constant.


A few years back, John Krasinski’s involvement would have been the film’s primary attraction, but now it’s notable primarily for being co-written by GirlsLena Dunham, who collaborated on the script with director Ry Russo-Young. Olivia Thirlby lends a bohemian swagger and an androgynous but aggressive sexuality to the role of a 23-year-old artist who moves in with a wealthy family while closely collaborating with a sound-design wizard played by Krasinski. Krasinski initially inhabits the role of the supportive mentor, but when flirtation leads to something physical, he devolves into a jealous, controlling lover, even though he’s married and a stepfather himself.

Nobody Walks surveys the complexities of the human heart through three relationships that transgress lines of propriety. Krasinski and Thirlby’s intense professional connection leads to a more complicated and troubled personal relationship. A wealthy screenwriter (Justin Kirk) hits on Krasinski’s psychiatrist wife (Rosemarie DeWitt), while an overly lusty Italian tutor makes inappropriate sexual advances to DeWitt’s dreamy teenage daughter (Jane Levy). Nobody Walks is at its strongest and most sensual during scenes where Krasinski and Thirlby indulge in a sonic seduction, an auditory-based flirtation built upon the unexpectedly sexual process of designing and recording sounds.

Krasinski and Thirlby’s relationship grows less compelling once it’s consummated, and Krasinski devolves from friendly older brother figure to demanding jerk, while the simultaneously thinly developed and overly melodramatic relationships between DeWitt and her randy client and Levy’s daughter and her lusty tutor beg for the cutting-room floor. Nobody Walks is a film of acutely observed little moments that unfortunately don’t add up to anything of substance. It’s a forgettable shrug of a movie, pleasant enough, but unlikely to linger.

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