Movie review: ‘Answers to Nothing’

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The title of the ensemble drama “Answers to Nothing” is certainly truth in advertising. Though this “Crash”-lite intersection of L.A. stories, directed by Matthew Leutwyler from a script he co-wrote with Gillian Vigman, effectively portrays human loneliness and alienation, there’s a lack of real conclusiveness to many of the film’s characters and situations.

The crisscross of Angelenos includes Ryan (Dane Cook), a moody shrink cheating on his fertility-challenged, lawyer wife (Elizabeth Mitchell) with an earthy rocker chick (Aja Volkman); a former police cadet (Erik Palladino) still grieving for his late wife; an anxious schoolteacher (Mark Kelly) hiding in a world of video games; a curiously self-hating TV writer (Kali Hawk) who starts dating a gentle music engineer (Zach Gilford); a pretty cop (Julie Benz) investigating a child abduction case; and a recovering alcoholic (Miranda Bailey) fighting to keep custody of her paralyzed brother.

The connections among these various folks — seemingly the film’s raison d’être — although not illogical, feel more random than intriguing.


Fortunately, the strong cast (which also includes Barbara Hershey as Ryan’s idealistic mother and Greg Germann as a kidnapping suspect) helps keep things watchable. But it can never fully surmount an overlong, largely underwhelming script that often swaps forced personality quirks and symbolic gestures for honest dimension.

“Answers to Nothing.” MPAA rating: R for some strong sexual content, nudity, violence and language. Running time: 2 hours, 3 minutes. At AMC’s Century City 15, Century City; Regency’s South Coast Village, Santa Ana.