LIBERAL ARTS

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JANUARY 5, 2013

Hardly anyone’s best effort, “Liberal Arts” is still a great second feature, written and directed by leading star Josh Radnor. Borrowing many of the same themes of his first directing endeavor, “HappyThankYouMorePlease,” Radnor places himself at the center of a relationship with a college student (Elizabeth Olsen) who is half his age. The emotions are high, and the situation is realistic enough, but there’s an element of surprise and regret missing from the film, often too quick to place himself as the ethereal good guy. There comes the point where drama is needed to keep things interesting.

Richard Jenkins is one of the only successful supporting roles, offering up the stakes and driving force of the film’s narrative. A surprise cameo by Zac Efron as a stoner and humorous performance from Allison Janney falls a bit flat, with no substantial help from the leads. It’s fantastic to see Olsen continue her tour through different genre films, but with little at stake and a halfhearted ending, “Liberal Arts” doesn’t quite live up to our expectations.

RELEASE DATE
September 14, 2012

DIRECTOR
Josh Radnor

WRITTEN BY
Josh Radnor

STUDIO
IFC Films

PG-13
(for sexual content including references, mature thematic material, and some teen drinking)

COMEDY
DRAMA
ROMANCE
97 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Seamus Tierney

COMPOSER
Ben Toth

EDITOR
Michael R. Miller

CAST
Josh Radnor
Elizabeth Olsen
Richard Jenkins
Allison Janney
John Magaro
Elizabeth Reaser
Zac Efron

PRODUCED BY
Brice Dal Farra
Claude Dal Farra
Jesse Hara
Lauren Munsch
Josh Radnor

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