The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Max Landis has made a career of writing genre movies that must have had some good pitches—in less than five years, five of his scripts have been made into features. It's very curious watching "Me Him Her," then, as to why he would pick probably his worst produced screenplay, a rough draft in nearly every sense, for a directorial debut. For a studio-trained writer, it turns out to be an amateur rebellion against form.
Brandon Ehrlick (Luke Bracey) is the big Hollywood star of TV series "Hard Justice," who is afraid of coming out of the closet. Somewhere else in the City of Angels, Gabbi (Emily Meade) is having trouble breaking up with her cheating ex-girlfriend. It's the third person to this equation who sets them both off on paths of discovery, Dustin Milligan's tacky, altruistic Cory, who might have wayward ways of helping people, but he will be right in the end.
Within the first 15 minutes, Cory tries to help Brandon in accepting himself by dragging him to a gay bar, an effort he ditches when he meets the dejected Gabbi, while Brandon is then hounded by paparazzi. Cory and Gabbi hit it off, and as happens in stories told with straight male gaze, they sleep together. A barely-there storyline then drags to 95 minutes as we barely get to know these people outside of their sexual preferences, or whether their faces are on billboards or not. The performances lend themselves to the superficiality of these characters, with an exception of Meade, who stands out for providing some full-force meltdowns, an unfortunate and redundant expression in Landis' cinematic world.
As it works to have Milligan's tacky lead fix these people for themselves, "Me Him Her" sets itself inside Landis' hate-hate relationship with Los Angeles. He indifferently uses overhead shots of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign for visual familiarity, but not character. A satire of sorts about the smug that's in the air of Hollywood, Landis' weak jabs about LA and its inhabitants lack the cleverness for their sarcasm to engage. Hollywood agents are superficial, Los Angeles is unpredictable, and Haley Joel Osment (playing himself) is a huge star again.