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.
This movie is so nice. Its hero is so sweet. His sisters consider him such an idiot. His sisters are so correct. He's an idiot in the sense that he doesn't lie or cheat. He doesn't calculate the odds on getting away with things. He trusts people. He always tells the truth. Wasn't there a study proving that human society would collapse if we didn't lie?
Ned (Paul Rudd) is sort of a saint. He has a beatific smile, wishes you the best and doesn't hold grudges. He also doesn't hold jobs very well. He reminds me a little of Harold Skimpole, the Dickens character who never grasped how money worked, or why it mattered if he didn't have any. When we meet Ned, he's selling organic vegetables at a farmer's market, with a little sideline in under-the-counter weed. And when a uniformed cop says he's having a bad day and wonders if he might have something to sell him, he slips him a $20 bag with his rhubarb. A uniformed cop.
After getting busted, Ned is released from prison early (he was named a model prisoner four months in a row). He returns to the farm he worked with his girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn), discovers she has a new boyfriend, and just about apologizes to the guy for turning up unexpectedly. Deprived of his home, he begins to depend on the hospitality of his three sisters, who in their three ways are three pieces of work.
This movie wouldn't work without Paul Rudd. He walks such a fine line. He has to be nice, but not a fool. Sweet, but not saccharine. Honest enough to cause trouble, but always innocently. Not only doesn't he lie, he never knows when he has been lied to. When the genes were being shaken up in his family tree, all of the kind ones must have fallen into his pool.