It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Pseudo-suspenseful romantic-drama "Come and Find Me" does not work. That needs saying up front because the thing itself is not an unworkable premise, nor is its cast bad, nor its director inconsiderate, or its scenario dumb. In fact, the whole thing is altogether smarter than you might expect from a two-star-rated flick. Still, "Come and Find Me" lacks sufficient inspiration and follow-through to be truly exciting. The raw ingredients are there: "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul plays a characteristically likable everyman who discovers his girlfriend is not who she appears to be after she goes missing for a year. But there's nothing to "Come and Find Me" beyond a superficial investment in its central characters' romantic relationship.
Paul plays David, a graphic designer who becomes obsessed with finding his girlfriend Claire (Annabelle Wallis) after she suddenly disappears. David doesn't have many clues to go on, though he does eventually find a roll of undeveloped film that leads several hostile interested parties to his door, including torture-happy Russian gangsters, and equally shady government agents.
Still, remember: this is a romance first, and then a thriller. So "Come and Find Me" mainly concerns David's memories of Claire. We see various episodes in their relationship, from when they first meet to their first serious fight. There are signs of Claire's double life ostentatiously hidden throughout these scenes, but there's no puzzle to solve here. Instead, writer/director Zack Whedon shows us Claire and Paul's relationship in order to establish David's fierce loyalty. That theme is crucial since David is constantly being betrayed by friendly strangers who claim to know Claire, or have information about her. Much of Whedon's drama is comprised of flashbacks, but those flashbacks give meaning to David's easily-frustrated quest for answers.
This is a bit of a problem since a constant series of interrupting flashbacks winds up stalling "Come and Find Me," Whedon's directorial debut, whenever it starts to develop momentum. Whedon's flashback-heavy plot is also frustrating because Wallis and Paul don't seem to have any chemistry. This is partly a matter of poor direction, and partly just a sad lack of airborne sparks. Wallis and Paul are supposed to appear clumsy when they first lock lips because their relationship is initially defined by Claire's awkward, giddy energy. She thinks David is following her from the bus stop but he actually lives in the same building as her. Likewise, when they kiss, she leads: she pounces on him, and pushes her face into his, like an eager high-schooler who has no idea what she's doing. But when the couple lock lips later in the film, she kisses him in the same exact way. It's not cute at that point, but rather confusing: why haven't these two actors learned how to express their love for each other?