THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE
Two distant cousins who’ve never met – one in NYC, the other in the smallest town there is in Ireland – come together to finally put an end to a generations-long family feud. It doesn’t go well. The Problem With People, set in the beautifully lush Irish countryside, is a heartwarming comedy about family, world peace … and sheep.
Director Chris Cottam brings Austin Film Festival audiences a charming transatlantic tale of fortune, forgiveness, and family.
Paul Reiser, who also writes the screenplay with Wally Marzano-Lesnevich, plays Barry. A real estate mogul from NYC, he receives a call from his distant cousin in Ireland, requesting his presence to heal a wound from generations past. The caller is Ciáran, played by Colm Meaney. The two proud, established men momentarily connect for the sake of their family. When Barry finds himself inheriting half of the family land, shenanigans ensue, dividing this small town between old and new ways.
This breezy film is perfect for the festival circuit. Jane Levy grounds the film as Barry’s daughter. While 95% of her appearances occur as phone calls from NYC, her brightness keeps Barry grounded for the viewer. Reiser is as great as ever. His big-city energy is a delicious foil for Meaney’s homegrown pride. Ciáran wavers between forgiveness and fight, and Meaney is a pro.
The landscape of the film is breathtaking. The sets are inviting. The script is heartwarming and silly. Frankly, THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE is a film we all need right about now. While it doesn’t break the mold, it makes you smile from beginning to end. I would easily watch a sequel of these two men navigating whatever comes next.