If I was to categorize “Together Together,” a new movie starring Ed Helms and now on V.O.D., I guess I’d have to create a new category, the non rom com. It’s a relationship comedy that has some, but not all, of the hallmarks of a romantic comedy, but walks its own path.
Helms is Matt, a 45-year-old single man who wants to start a family. When we first meet him he’s awkwardly interviewing 26-year-old millennial Anna (Patti Harrison) for the job of surrogate. She has snappy answers to his questions—Have you ever stolen anything?—and gets the job. Matt is eager to begin his new life as a single dad but Anna, who gave a baby up for adoption years before, sees it as a gig, a transaction with a $15,000 fee.
Divided into trimesters, as story unfolds Matt and Anna’s relationship grows. They share meals, watch “Friends,” which she has never seen, and take prenatal classes together. They even attend a kind of couple’s therapy, even though their relationship isn’t romantic. It’s more complicated than that. They aren’t a couple but their relationship is intimate on many levels and it leads to misunderstandings that threaten their personal and business relationship.
“Together Together” often feels like it is turning the corner to becoming a Hollywood rom com and then, just as often, does a u-turn. It constantly defies the traditional rom com journey, while allowing the characters to have an interesting connection.
Writer/director Nikole Beckwith has crafted a movie about a platonic relationship between a man and a woman, fringed with humour, melancholy and warmth. Helms brings his trademarked nerdy awkwardness to the role, expertly playing off Harrison’s more sardonic take on Anna. They are a compelling couple, even if they’re not actually a couple.
“Together Together” is a different take on “When Harry Met Sally,” providing an updated and rather sweet answer to that movie’s famous query, “Can men and women be friends or does sex always get in the way?”