Monday, October 15, 2012
"Smashed" is about a young elementary teacher who happens to be morbidly alcoholic. Kate Hannah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) scours the cabinets of the Highland Park home she shares with her dipso husband Charlie (hirtellous Aaron Gray), a freelance music critic with family money, for the last swig from any near-empty bottle. She takes a nip in the school parking lot, where her colleague Mr. Davies (Nick Offerman), himself a recovering alkie, catches her and without pressure offers to introduce her to his AA meeting.
The most interesting elements of the movie are the rarely-filmed L.A. locations, Winstead's fearless if at times showy performance, and especially the script's examination of what happens when one spouse takes steps to improve herself and the other is not yet ready. Less successful is a parked-car encounter between Winstead and Offerman that rings totally false. Octavia Spencer as Kate's AA sponsor has little to do but look on comfortingly and bake cookies. "Smashed" covers mostly familiar ground, but ends (in 85 minutes) on an appealingly ambivalent note.