In her directorial debut A Happening of Monumental Proportions The eternal supporting actress Judy Greer tells of a day at a school in which students, teachers and parents experience small and large worries of everyday life. We’ll reveal how the film turned out in our review.
The Plot Summary
At a normal school in normal America, different people’s paths cross, all of whom have something very special to do that day. Daniel (Common), for example, is an account manager and is desperately unhappy in his boring job. He still wants to give it his all at his daughter’s career day, but especially the office romance with his charming but also a little high-strung colleague (Jennifer Garner) and an argument with his nasty new boss (Bradley Whitford) keep giving him other ideas. Of all people, his boss’s son falls in love with Daniel’s daughter (Storm Reid). To get her around, he gets help from her hip teacher (John Cho) and her depressed music teacher Mr. McRow (Anders Holm) – unfortunately without success. Meanwhile, behind the scenes at the school, the principal (Allison Janney) and her colleague Mr. Pendlehorn (Rob Riggle) are trying to hide the dead gardener from the staff, students and their parents. But the emergency doctors rushing to the scene prove to be the biggest stumbling block…
A Happening of Monumental Proportions Movie explanation of the ending
Judy Greer (“30 over night”) has been something of a perpetual supporting actress since her career began in 1997 in the thriller drama “Stricken”. The Detroit-born actress even wrote a book about this fact; the self-ironic, appropriate title: “I Don’t Know What You Know From Me – Confessions of a Co-Star”. Now she is trying her hand at directing for the first time and is bringing in a whole armada of her colleagues for her debut “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” who are supposed to refine her episodic tragicomedy and sometimes do. Bradley Whitford (“Get Out”)Jennifer Garner (“Love, Simon”)John Cho (“Searching”)Rob Riggle (“Midnight Sun”) and Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) – to name just a few and, above all, not to give away the superstar cameo at the very end of the film – fill a film with life that is otherwise quite poor in highlights, but some of the actors also subordinate themselves to the uniform narrative and therefore not always can shine. So “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” is just a nice, small and sometimes quite charming episodic tragicomedy that thrives on the sheer abundance of individual fates. However, there is no real recognition value, which is why hardly anyone will remember the film in a few months. We would have wished for something better for Judy Greer of all people.
Daniel (Common) and his daughter (Storm Reid) on the way to school.
The individual subplots in “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” (the original English title “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” was probably too complicated for a USA audience by those responsible) are sometimes charming, sometimes funny, sometimes absurd and sometimes emotional. Or better: they should be! Because the topics that debut author Gary Lundy covers here are a lot, but rarely go into depth. So it’s primarily up to the actors to give the film the emotionality that the stories themselves lack. The various short stories are often simply not sophisticated enough for this. The part about the director and her colleagues, who together fail to make a corpse disappear, is staged to the point and does not require any characterization of the characters, as the punchline works to the exact second. And Daniel’s problems as a single father are also understandable, as the script burdens him with enough problems that as a viewer you inevitably have to sympathize with him, even if it’s a little over-the-top. But the remaining fates of the characters can only unfold to a limited extent without any characterization. And that means that “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” just babbles along most of the time.
This is particularly tragic when actually deeply sad fates such as the longing for death of the depressed Mr. McRow (Anders Holm, known from “How To Be Single”, among others, plays one of the strongest roles in the ensemble) are merely a side note here. It’s not the fault of the actors. They all dedicate themselves entirely to the service of the film and embody their roles with a lot of passion and dedication. Unfortunately, they simply don’t always have the opportunity to show off their full potential, because not everything runs smoothly in Judy Greer’s first directorial work either. “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” lacks rhythm and dynamics due to inappropriate scene changes and a less than elegant editing. Whenever things get exciting in a scene, Greer jumps to the next location, but the whole thing is not focused enough for it to be a concept. And due to a lack of sensitivity when it comes to timing, she also misses out the odd gag and many moments of emotional depth. “A Happening of Monumental Proportions” doesn’t just suffer from a superficial script, but also from the fact that Judy Greer simply lacks experience as a director. At least the latter will happen over time.
Mr. McRow (Anders Holm) actually has enough problems of his own, but he listens well to what his students have to say to him.
Conclusion: With a more coherent script, what was just a solid film might even have become a really good film. After all, Judy Greer’s contacts alone qualify her to try directing again with a stronger script. After all, everyone started small.
“A Happening of Monumental Proportions” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from October 25th.