Director Judy Greer’s kooky film “A Happening Proportions” offers minimal entertainment. The struggling screenplay by Gary Lundy attempts to mix humor and sentiment and a fine cast does its best to make the film work. But while there are humorous moments, some macabre, the effort at tugging at heartstrings falls short, and the mixture fails to click sufficiently.
The setting is divided between a school and a publishing company. At the school Allison Janney as the principal discovers the gardener dead outside and she and Rob Riggle as her rather dim-witted assistant cart the body into the teacher’s lounge and 911 is called to dispose of it, with the aim of meanwhile keeping the corpse from the view of students and other teachers. The lounge is ruled off limits, much to the anger of staff, and when help arrives, they are medics who say it’s not their department and that the coroner should be called instead. This is so-so funny.
Over at the company, an irate new boss, Bradley Whitford as Mr. Schneedy, has summoned everyone to find out who sabotaged the coffee machine, with a security guard there to interrogate as if it were a murder case. Schneedy also calls in account manager, Daniel, played by Common, and the interview results in his getting fired.
Daniel has a private situation going on, an affair with his assistant (Jennifer Garner),who is married. Her husband has found out and irately calls Daniel insisting on meeting, which, despite Daniel’s resistance, occurs in the rest room of a restaurant, with the husband wanting to see Daniel’s penis to compare manhood with his. A smaller one on Daniel would make the dalliance with his wife less embarassing. Meanwhile, the wife is unleashing fury at Daniel for sexually harassing her, but Daniel reminds her that sex was at her invitation.
On the more sentimental side, Daniel, a widower, is raising an appealing young daughter, Patricia (Storm Reid), at whose career day event in school he has promised to speak. She is the focus of a smitten youngster Darius, (Marcus Eckert) who wants her to commit to going with him. He’s cute, but so obsessive that she wants to kindly brush him off. This makes him terrible depressed, as is one of the teachers with whom he bonds. At the career day session, it turns out that Darius’s father is Mr. Schneedy, the very guy who fired Daniel. Are you ready for the complications?
I have only touched on basic plot elements and characterizations. It is an unwieldy mix. One can admire the effort to make an oddball film that strikes comic and personal chords and be very different from the usual. But the strain shows throughout. A Great Point media release. Reviewed September 21, 2018.