Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Movie Review - Hello, My Name Is Doris

Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016)
Starring Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Elzabeth Reaser, Kumail Nanjiami, Natasha Lyonne, and Tyne Daly
Directed by Michael Showalter

Anchored with a strong comedic performance from Sally Field, Hello, My Name Is Doris is a pleasant enough diversion that hints at strong dramatics, but never really bites the bullet on them which is both helpful and harmful in creating a well-rounded film.  Here, Field is the titular Doris, the only senior citizen working at an up-and-coming ad agency in New York City.  Whenever she's not at work, she's her mother's caretaker, but as the film opens, her mother has passed away and Doris finds herself a little bit lost in the wilderness until the young and charming John (Max Greenfield) comes into the picture.  A new recruit at her workplace, Doris is immediately smitten with the man, daydreaming about him being smitten with her as well, igniting a passionate love affair that plays out in her mind.  Following the advice of the teenage granddaughter of her best friend Roz (Tyne Daly), Doris pushes herself to be a bit more outgoing in order to get John's attention and she succeeds with John and Doris becoming fast friends both in and out of work.  Of course, this only increases Doris's infatuation with the young man -- a romantic feeling that he may not be willing to reciprocate.

While the film is undeniably played for laughs, there are some rather dark undertones present and Field does a nice job of landing both disparate aspects of her character's plight.  Ultimately, though, director and co-screenwriter Michael Showalter pushes some of these more serious aspects aside until late in the film despite the fact that we in the audience are well aware that Doris has some intense and frankly dangerous psychological problems from the film's outset.  While these dramatic character traits are detailed in the film's last third, the film may have benefited from a bit more serious tone spread throughout the piece.

I say that, however, and appreciate the humor that both Field and Showalter bring to the table (along with a charming turn from Max Greenfield).  Field captivates in the comedic moments and Showalter really allows the dramatic moments to resonantly punctuate the character and the film itself.  Somehow, it feels just the slightest bit off balance.  The film is also just a bit too meandering and despite its brief ninety minute length, it could've stood to have about ten minutes or so shaved off the opening and middle acts.  I still found Hello, My Name Is Doris to be enjoyable and mostly engaging, however, thanks in large part to Sally Field's amusing performance.

The RyMickey Rating:  B


  1. I went out of my way to see this (out of my way being going to another theatre and paying money to view) because of Michael Schowalter. I think I need to revisit it. I remember really loving Sally Field in it too--and wishing there was more/I could follow her character further.

  2. Also reminds me I need to watch Search Party--have you seen any of that yet?

  3. "Michael Schowalter" meant nothing to me. Looking at his filmography on I now realize that beyond this film (and one other he wrote and one he acted in) he really literally means nothing to me. Never done the Wet Hot American Summer stuff and I knew of Search Party but that gal in it doesn't do anything for me either. (You may remember that I'm not all that big a fan of Arrested Development...don't think I made it past Season One or Two?)

  4. Aw man. It just cleared out my comment without publishing. Basically I said I also try to seek out David Wain stuff. And that I haven't seen Alia Shawkat in too much outside of Arrested Development--although she was just in this Drunk History episode of Lin Manuel Miranda where she plays Alexander Hamilton (and Aubrey Plaza plays Aaron Burr) that was entertaining.