[Screen It]


(2021) (Ed Helms, Patti Harrison) (R)

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Dramedy: A 45-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman try to figure out how to interact for the next nine months after he hires her to be a surrogate for his baby.

Matt (ED HELMS) is a single, 45-year-old app developer who's decided he wants to start a family...by himself. Accordingly, he's hired an agency to find a surrogate to carry and deliver his child and their selection is Anna (PATTI HARRISON). She's a 26-year-old single woman who works in a coffee shop alongside Jules (JULIO TORRES) and is willing to go through the nine-month pregnancy for the paycheck. Thinking that previously giving up a child to adoption while in high school means she'll have no problem not keeping the child that will grow inside her, Anna figures she's perfect for the job and Matt agrees.

Once she's pregnant via artificial insemination, she plans on going about her life like normal. But she must contend with Matt being a hovering father-to-be, excited about what's to come but overly cautious and sometimes critical of Anna's behavior. As the weeks and months fly by, they end up as friends with conflicting emotions about their unique relationship.

OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10

In the business world, people often talk about having a "work wife" or "work husband." And that's because they work so often and so close together that they view themselves -- or others view them that way -- as spouses of sorts, albeit without everything -- legal, domestic, and bedroom related -- associated with being married.

But what if the work being done is to create a baby, not via the traditional route, but as a business transaction? You know, where an artificially inseminated surrogate carries a couple's or single person's child to term for pay and then walks away. In more ways than one, that carries even more "spousal" weight than most any other type of work.

The question then is whether that naturally leads to an even greater chance of something developing between the involved parties than the more usual work spouse relationship. That's the underlying element fueling the mostly satisfying dramedy "Together Together."

In it, Ed Helms plays Matt, a middle-aged app developer who wants to alleviate his at-home loneliness not by an adult partner, but instead by having a baby. And after lightly grilling 26-year-old Anna (Patti Harrison) during a suitability interview, he thinks she's the right person for the job.

Despite his satisfaction, however, and fueled by a mixture of giddy excitement and uncertain concern about the gestational process, Matt starts hanging around Anna, micromanaging her decisions, be that what ends up on her plate or who might be in her bed.

Thankfully, writer/director Nikole Beckwith keeps that from feeling too creepy (and at one point there's a not-so-veiled takedown of Woody Allen's cross-generational romantic offerings just to show the awareness), no doubt helped by Helms' characters' aw-shucks demeanor and Harrison's humoring his hovering dad-to-be behavior.

There are some nice comedic as well as emotional moments scattered throughout the 90-minute film that's designed and behaves like a modified romantic comedy. Yes, that means complete with the flamboyant gay sidekick character (Julio Torres) and the obligatory third act falling out that's designed to make us wonder how things will play out between the main characters.

Will they go through with the initial plan of her walking away after -- ahem -- delivering the goods? Might they end up as friends sans any sort of romantic feelings? Or will they hook up and maybe get hitched to raise their child together?

I won't spoil things for you. But I will say it's an engaging and emotionally satisfying offering about an unconventional coupling. All of which means you probably won't mind ending up together with "Together Together." It rates as a 6.5 out of 10.

Reviewed April 20, 2021 / Posted April 23, 2021

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