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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
There are few enough unapologetically wicked comedies made for an adult audience, so I really wanted to love "The Best and the Brightest." With Neil Patrick Harris, Bonnie Somerville, and the incomparable Amy Sedaris--this had all the earmarks of being an undiscovered gem. As a successful satire on the competitive world of primary education in New York society, the film hits it on the nose. As a blisteringly funny look at the contemporary literary scene, the movie really excels. There are plenty of awkward laughs and this is an easy recommendation for those that like confrontational in-your-face humor--but the individual components may be stronger than the film taken in its entirety. A wildly uneven script keeps this from being a true classic. With both of the aforementioned satiric elements in place, the film stumbles too often on the connecting narrative.

Harris and Somerville play new inhabitants to the Big City, leaving a settled existence in Delaware behind them. I guess Harris' boring accounting job had an opening in New York because practical issues like this are never explored. Somerville felt trapped in Delaware and wanted to give life one more try before compromising her dreams. Just one problem, she has no apparent dreams or ambitions. She wanted to move to New York City, live in a dump, and put her daughter in a privileged school? It makes little sense and gets no real attention by the script, you just have to take the sketchy character development at face value. Of course, she wants her daughter to attend the most prestigious school (despite living in the previously mentioned one room dump and not having an income. Harris must make bank!) so she enlists Sedaris as a consultant to navigate the difficult interview process. I love Sedaris in absolutely everything, but here she is such an unorthodox misfit--it never makes sense how she has connections to the elite world of the uppercrust.

If you can get by the logic-challenging moments of the narrative and the lack of real character motivation, the film does have some very bright spots. Masquerading as a poet by using colorful, sexually explicit emails--Harris gets the film's funniest sequences. It's so perfect--especially as a book club tries to infuse meaning into the inappropriate rants. The film is a comedy of rudeness and ruthlessness--its message being if you want something badly enough, any amount of lying and manipulation is justified. As such, there is blackmailing, adultery, and every bad act imaginable utilized in the quest for kindergarten enrollment. Sometimes funny, sometimes silly--I liked "The Best and the Brightest" despite its flaws. Christopher McDonald,Kate Mulgrew and Jenna Stern all score big as the school board officials/headmistress that need creative persuasion about their potential new student (who, by the way, virtually disappears for the film's second half. Couldn't have something like raising their daughter interfere with the madcap plot). Hardly a classic, but fun enough, this ranked about 3 1/2 stars for me. Anyone who casts Sedaris, a national comic treasure, gets rounded up! KGHarris, 8/11.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2011
I saw this movie in LA during one of it's preview runs. I'm probably neither the average movie goer nor a film buff but when I see 85% of movies, I'm saddled with a "been there, done that" feeling through most of it only for a predictable ending.

Best and Brightest was a refreshing break to the cycle! I can honestly say that there were many times where I was laughing aloud. The film is presented wonderfully to the point where you're constantly asking yourself, "is this really an Indie film?" The script seemed very-cleverly written offering nice little twists in the plot just when you think you know where it's going. The cast gave great performances making every single character a treat to the film. With every new scene I found myself excited to see each character back in the movie.

It was also great to see a comedy pushing the limits of an R-rating without going too far to the point of overly childish slapstick. The film also does a great job drawing you into the story and keeping you interested in the character's plight, not just lining up the next joke. When I wasn't laughing, I actually cared what else was going on!

I'm not sure how long the film is, but I thought it might've been maybe 10 minutes too long (or maybe I'm just getting old and need to stop going to the movies during the week). Additionally, like most mainstream movies, it's a bit of a "white movie" in that everyone is white and minorities are only included when they need to be the joke (eye roll). From my experience with Indies, this is where they usually shine for me in showing fresh faces and "non-standard" looking casts.

All-in-all a very funny, cleverly-written, adult comedy that runs the gamut of emotions in a genuinely unique way. Nicely done.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2011
I really, really enjoyed this movie! Didn't know what to expect going in but it was a wicked, funny, raunchy delight! I'm sorry it didn't have more of a theatrical run, but not for lack of quality. I laughed, hard.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2011
Clever, smart, fantastic. A genuinely funny adult comedy. Not many of them out there. Laughed from beginning to end. Can't say enough good things about this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2011
The Best and the Brightest has what it takes to entertain us - interesting story and characters, steady momentum toward an unexpected dénouement, and a few twists that elevate it above what could have been a mundane and forgettable movie. But it won't be featured at a mainstream theater because it has a few themes and scenes that scream "the censors won't like this!!!"

The casting is right on target, the acting is prime time sit-com+, and the cinematography's actually quite good (especially for what was probably a low budget production, given the difficulty marketing it that the producer and director must have anticipated when they read the screenplay).

The racy bits are actually essential to the story line and not there simply to attract or shock. But many conservative potential viewers would blanch at the thought of bringing their kids to see it. The same group will also decry it in public as smutty - but they'll watch it in the confines of their homes and laugh until they cry. Is it great movie art and an Oscar magnet? Nope.....but it's really a wonderful movie that we liked very very much.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2011
Love this movie! Lots of storylines which tie together nicely. I've recommended it to all of my friends. I thought it was great casting and writing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
When I saw this movie I was shocked as it is packed with stars, and toted as an Indie film, you do not always see this many stars in one place so needless to say I was intrigued.

In watching the film I was impressed. The movie was well written and produced and the end result is a funny adult comedy that you can share with others. I have to say that for me I found myself laughing through many parts in the film and you are continuously wondering whether the truth will finally come out and what will happen in the end.

The movie also takes the idea of a father doing anything for his child to unforeseen levels.

The movie is filled with many twists and turns and you never completely know what is going to be coming next. The film draws you in and keeps you entertained with clever quips and even some slapstick humor thrown in.

All-in-all this was a great movie that all will enjoy!

The Original Review can be found - [...]
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I have no real clue how I landed on watching this movie but I'm so glad I did. It starts out cute and sweet and charmingly funny, but about a fourth of the way in it kicks into semi-raunchy overdrive and never slows down.

The leads are fine but the supporting cast really gives this movie its juice.

The other positive reviews here are spot-on. It's very funny and borders on theatrical farce. Some of the throwaway lines are the funniest things in the movie.

Recommended with a big smile.
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on July 1, 2013
I love each of the actors in this cast, which is why I was sure it was to be a hit. The premise gives promise for a great comedy too. But I was disappointed. The story lines were not as funny as I expected. The writing tied together relationships, in the beginning and at the end, in cheezy, "let's get this relationship established fast, awkwardly and obviously cuz it's a movie" and "we gotta end this movie fast" kind of ways. The actors had little to no chemistry together; it was awkward to watch them together. I kept thinking "What happened? I have never seen you act poorly..." or "What happened,you've made me laugh every time I've seen you..." I wanted to throw the cast and the writers together for a do-over on a bonding week-long retreat. I really wanted to like this, for the actors and the idea. I tried, NPH, I tried to love this.
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on December 8, 2012
Surprisingly funny movie! Great cast and witty script.
I laughed a lot for this one. Not sure why it never made it to the big screen.
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