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.
Rob Reiner's "The Story of Us" is a sad-sack movie about the misery of a married couple (Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer) who fight most of the time. Watching it is like taking a long trip in a small car with the Bickersons. I leave it to you to guess whether the movie has a happy ending, but what if it does? A movie like this is about what we endure while we're watching it, not about where it finally arrives.
Meet the Jordans, Ben and Katie. He's a TV comedy writer, she composes crossword puzzles. They have two kids, Erin and Josh. Their marriage is a war zone: "Argument has become the condition for conversation," he observes. They fake happiness for the kids. How did they arrive at such pain? It is hard to say; the movie consists of flashbacks to their fights, but their problems are so generic we can't put a finger on anything.
Gene Siskel used to ask if a movie was as good as a documentary of the same actors having lunch. Watching "The Story of Us," I imagined a documentary of the marriage of, say, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. I do not say that to score a cheap point, but because Moore and Willis are spirited and intelligent people who no doubt had interesting fights about real issues, and not insipid fights about sitcom issues.
Example: The movie wants to illustrate Poor Communication. It shows Pfeiffer at home, where the washing machine is spewing suds all over the room and the kids are fighting. Willis calls her from outside their old apartment building, which is being torn down. He tells her the wrecking ball has just taken out their bedroom. She doesn't pay attention. His feelings are hurt.