Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (film) POSTER.jpg
Death Prattle

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Starring: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, Ronald Cyler II, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon

As he nears the end of high-school, Greg (Thomas Mann) has managed to become a part of every social group, while never actually having somebody he can call a friend. The closest he has is Earl (Ronald Cyler II), his "co-worker" whom he makes classic film parodies with. After befriending classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who's been diagnosed with leukaemia, his outlook begins to change.

Let's get it out of the way. Yes, this film will be compared to other films with a similar subject matter, like last years The Fault in Our Stars. But for all it's faults (I know), Josh Boone's film succeeded thanks to characters who were easy to care about and moments of emotion which felt genuine as they hit. As for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's film, the same cannot be said.

What attempts there are to craft some substance are limited to dime-store philosophy, spouted by the weakly written characters. It appears Gomez-Rejon recognised this, so tried covering it up with a multitude of ways. Be it the distracting camera angles, the moments of quirk or the foreign cinema name-dropping, they each seem like a forced addition. The parodies of classic cinema are nice addition, but add little to the overall picture.

Thomas Mann tries his best with the role, but fails to make his character anything but a dull lead. Ronald Cyler II fairs better, as Earl seems like a more interesting character than our lead. Unfortunately, we get little more out of him than an info dump about Greg's not wanting to get hurt. Olivia Cooke gives the best performance out of our lead trio, as the titular "Dying Girl", better known as Rachel. The biggest problem about her character is how she's practically a learning tactic, utilized in order to have Greg learn something by the films climax. There are moments at the end, attempting to add character to what's essentially a plot device, but it feels too little, too late.

The adults don't serve much better, with Connie Britton and Nick Offerman portraying walking, talking devices of quirkiness more than actual characters. Jon Bernthal's teacher is there for the traditional single scene of attempted "bonding" with the lead, while Molly Shannon seems as though she's about to make a move on our 17 year old lead. Bizarrely, Hugh Jackman makes a voice cameo as a poster of himself from X-Men, an inclusion which doesn't feel at all justified.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl can't escape it's lacking attempts at substance, nor its attempts of cover up through forced quirks, foreign cinema name-dropping or dime-store philosophy. There's a good film within here, it's just been done through better films.

2 stars` photo 2stars.jpg