Between Us: Fine Acting, Ineffective Script

Julia Stiles, Melissa George, David Harbour and Taye Diggs in Between Us.
Nancy Schreiber, ASC

The two married couples in this woefully schematic play turned film emote madly, revealing all manner of sexual secrets and hidden jealousies, not one of which will come as a surprise. Screenwriter Joe Hortua, adapting his 2004 play with cowriter/director Dan Mirvish, gracefully time-shifts between two ill-fated parties, both of which, regrettably, are angst-filled and humor-free. Initially, the poor but radiantly happy Carlo and Grace (Taye Diggs and Julia Stiles) have dinner in upstate New York with their wealthy friends Joel and Sharyl (David Harbour and Melissa George), who do a lousy job hiding their disdain for each other. Two years later, a blissfully renewed Joel and Sharyl visit Carlo and Grace, now with a newborn they don't exactly adore, debts they can't pay, and a lot of hostility toward their well-to-do guests. The script gives each of its fine actors a lot of showy dialogue to chew on, and though the four hit their marks skillfully, the characters and crises never ring true.

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