“Song of Back and Neck,” dir. Paul Lieberstein
A hapless man seeking treatment for his crippling back pain discovers a very unusual talent and unexpected love.
Earlier this month, beloved “The Office” star John Krasinski directed “A Quiet Place” and it’s turned out to be a massive success. Now one of his co-stars Paul Lieberstein takes a stab at directing with his film, “Song of Back and Neck,” a dull, lackluster dramedy.
Lieberstein leads the film as a character similar to his role on “The Office,” a man who’s living a mundane life while being overlooked by the people around him. It’s incredibly difficult to follow someone who is so down on his luck when there isn’t a particularly investing arc.
Whenever the film tries to be funny, the jokes don’t land. Oftentimes the film falls apart so much to the point of causing unintentional laughter, especially whenever the film focuses on the strange new talent discovered about a third into the movie which I won’t spoil here. It gets immensely distracting to the point where it feels like two separate movies fighting for screentime.
The relationship that builds between Leiberstein and Rosemarie DeWitt at first seems like it might be charming, but quickly loses steam. DeWitt has so much energy which might have been a nice contrast to our protagonist but doesn’t work because of the lack of chemistry between the two actors.
It feels wrong to be so harsh on a film that clearly felt personal for Paul Lieberstein, but “Song of Back and Neck” is a massive disappointment that lacks an investing story and engaging, well rounded characters. By the time the movie finishes, a large portion of the movie already feels forgettable and leaves no lasting impact.
Stay tuned this Friday or Saturday as I am attending the 31-hour long Marvel Movie Marathon beginning on Wednesday, showcasing eleven films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe leading into the Thursday night premiere of “Avengers: Infinity War.” I will be writing a post here on my experience attempting to make it through all of the films without sleeping. Fingers crossed I make it!
For more reviews on the films playing at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, stay tuned to the site for the next few days. Also follow me on my Letterboxd to stay updated with all my reviews of films as soon as I see them.
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