'All Relative' stretches rom-com framework

Writer-director J.C. Khoury goes his own way in rom-com 'All Relative'

What starts off as a light farce takes an atypical turn in "All Relative," an honest if not entirely successful attempt at doing something unexpected within the traditional romantic-comedy framework.

Hurting from being dumped by his fiancée, New Yorker Harry (Jonathan Sadowski) had been hesitant about jumping back into the dating pool until he meets Grace (Sara Paxton) at a bowling alley.

Although they clearly click, Grace is dating someone else, and Harry ends up having a fling with the seductive, older Maren (a terrific Connie Nielsen), a presumed divorcée who also coaches him in the finer points of courting younger women.

About a month later Harry and Grace, now a full-fledged item, are driving to Westchester, where he's about to meet her parents for the first time and, well, you don't need a spoiler alert to know where something called "All Relative" is headed.

But writer-director J.C. Khoury turns out to have other, more analytical things in mind than simply spinning the wheels of a wacky adult comedy partially informed by "The Graduate."

And although the resulting tonal shifts between funny and serious aren't always executed as seamlessly as they might be, Khoury deserves props for defying rom-com conventions more often than he succumbs to them.


"All Relative"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Playing: Crest Theatre, Westwood. Also on VOD.

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