Courteney Cox, who has directed episodes of her recent series Cougar Town (it had its series finale late March) and the Lifetime TV movie Talhotblond, steps behind the camera once again with the feature Just Before I Go.
The story centers on Ted (Seann William Scott), a guy who has lived his life in a lackadaisical manner. After his wife (Elisha Cuthbert) leaves him, Ted returns to his hometown, where he visits his lovingly obnoxious big brother (Garret Dillahunt, who worked with Cox on Talhotblond), attempts to settle a score with a childhood bully (an always engaging Rob Riggle), and reconnects with the girl (Mackenzie Marsh) that may have gotten away. Connie Stevens also stars as Ted’s mom, with Olivia Thirlby (5 to 7) playing a woman who takes a cinematic interest in our protagonist’s travails.
Once he ties up a few loose ends, Ted’s last order of business is to commit suicide. Screenwriter David Flebotte creates a healthy chunk of eye-opening situations (Kate Walsh is Ted’s sister-in-law, a sleepwalking masturbator) and earthy dialogue amidst all the pathos, and though Just Before I Go is rife with comedy, its true anchor rests on Ted’s subtly enlightening journey.
During the interviews, I asked Cox if the movie’s themes of connecting with one’s family and friends had a personal resonance. “That’s who I am in life,” said the actress, whose daughter Coco and fiancé (singer/songwriter Johnny McDaid) provided the music for Just Before I Go. “I’m all about community (and) family. It was that way in making the movie. As I name the movies I love (Ordinary People, Kramer vs. Kramer) – they’re all about family . . . anything to do with real life and real people. My family alone is a lot of the characters in this movie.”
To hear the audio version of Cox’s answer, click on the Soundcloud bar below (Kate Walsh can also be heard at the end of the clip)
“Just Before I Go” hits New York and Los Angeles theaters on April 24, and it will be available On Demand, on iTunes, Blu-ray and DVD on May 12.