When it comes to comedy, simplicity can sometimes be the key to a hilarious bit or joke. Romance on the other hand isn’t always so easy to accomplish in a simple manner, as complications are bound to ensue. Who even knows what could happen when you try to accomplish both at the same time in the simplest way possible.
Thanks to “In Lieu of Flowers”, that question can pretty much perfectly be answered. The film is a pretty straightforward love story between two people who have lost and how they help each other heal. There isn’t an ounce of thematic complexity in sight here. What this film may be proof of however is that there doesn’t really need to be.
“I think I’m okay.”
Eric and Rachel are two attractive adults who meet at a support group for people who have lost. While Rachel is trying to recover from the death of her husband, Eric is struggling with his own loss: a loss of love rather than of life. It’s a false equivalence that thankfully does not go unacknowledged in the film, and actually makes for quite a bit of conflict for the characters and possible discussion for the viewer. But bear in mind, this would be solely discussion and far from analysis, as there is little deviation from the film’s linear plot into anything more complex.
A directorial debut for William Savage, the shot composure and scope of the film are executed surprisingly well. Savage also however was responsible for the film’s script, and the result is dialogue that stretches as thin as it possibly can to cover what seems like as many awkward silences as there are lines. If awkward was the direction this film is going in, that is by no means an inherently negative decision. This said, it would be hard to deny that this effect is less by choice and more by consequence of a malnourished script.
Despite the little that these actors are given in the way of dialogue, they are still however able to pull through with some pretty convincing performances. Most of this is a result of the feeling of loss which can very adequately be conveyed without dialogue, a circumstance used quite well by our main two actors Spencer Grammer and Josh Pence. The supporting cast can also be commended for their impressive comedic timings, especially Melissa Rauch who plays a character entirely different but equally as endearing as her character on The Big Bang Theory.
Simplicity does at times prove to be a cruel mistress at certain segments of “In Lieu of Flowers”. That said, this is definitely a film that wraps itself up in a pretty satisfying package come its conclusion, displaying as best as it can that the decision to stay on the stripped down side was merited.
Runtime: 1 hr 30 min