Dean (Dimitri Martin) lost his mom a year ago and he and his dad, Robert (Kevin Kline), are coping with it in very different ways. His father wants to move on with his life and sell the family home. His son, though, dwells on the past and refuses to give up that past in “Dean”
This is the first feature film (wearing the hats of star, director and screenwriter) by Dimitri Martin and it is a heartfelt but not entirely engrossing romantic comedy that has a tinge of grief and loss.
Dean mopes about, repeatedly plays his mom’s last voicemail and draws. His drawings (a real character in the film) are Dean’s outward manifestations of how he feels about himself, life and Death. Death, the guy in the hood carrying a scythe, plays prominent in Dean’s life and art as he has yet to resolve his grief over the death of his mother. How he goes about this resolution is Dean’s continent-spanning story.
Robert, on the other hand, is much more the pragmatist than his troubled son. He does not want to knock around the house filled with memories and makes the decision to sell. Enter pretty realtor Carol (Mary Steenburgen) who he hired to sell the house. (The hoped for romance soon buds.) Then, he breaks the news to Dean. It does not go as Robert hoped as he transitions to single life. The father/son conflicts over their loss are the other part of the story.
There is a lot of humor about human nature to “Dean” as it meanders along to the hoped for happy ending. It is a light bit of youthful angst tempered by oft funny views of life. I give it a B-.
The most memorable aspect of Demetri Martin's directorial debut is his drawings, which have been published in several books. "Dean" is pleasant enough viewing, but instantly forgettable. C+
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