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December 14, 2016

Movie Review: Uncle Nick (2016)

Christmas is supposed to be about the miraculous birth of Christ for Christian families all over the world. It's about giving for many others. Ads a mail carrier, it's about working miserable hours for a month, but that's just my issue. For many people, it can be about one thing year after year; family dysfunction.

Brian Posehn is Nick, an alcoholic loner in Cleveland who runs the landscaping business his late father left behind. He is getting ready to attend a family Christmas party at his baby brother's house. He doesn't respect his brother, who is basically a rich woman's (Paget Brewster) trophy husband. His only real motivation for attending is that he wants to hook up with his brother's college age step-daughter. In case you didn't guess it, Nick is a bit of a creep.

The party is also attended by Nick's goofy sister (Missi Pyle) and brother-in-law (Scott Adsit), who has a podcast about the Cleveland Indians. The World Series losers (sorry, I grew up in Chicago watching the Cubs) play a pivotal role in the movie. As the story moves along in chapters, each chapter is prefaced by a segment of a story told by Nick about an infamous Indians game at which the poorly attended team offered ten cent beers. The result was chaos, and Nick's story takes a similar path.

While Uncle Nick has genuinely funny moments, it is very complicated and quite dark. It's also amazingly realistic. Watching the family interact in sometimes loving and often terrible ways toward each other is like being at an actual family event with all of the elements of chaos you can think of.

The cast is wonderful. I enjoy all of the actors already, but Posehn was exceptional. I always enjoyed his time on Just Shoot Me, but this is the first dramastic role I've seen from him. I've always thought comedians handled drama well, and Posehn definitely does. Without spoiling too much, there is a story told about a death that is eerily similar to the death of Patton Oswalt's wife, Michelle McNamara. This was filmed before that happened, but knowing that Oswalt and Posehn are close friends makes the scene awkward and a little more sad than intended.

Uncle Nick is a brutally honest tale of a family in turmoil, but it does show growth from the characters as things progress. I highly recommend it. It is currently available for purchase and on Netflix, and if you have some of your own chaos to look forward to, giving this a watch may make you feel a bit better about your own situation.

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