Max Landis inherited a Hollywood-ready last name, but he’s made a name for himself with the deceptively clever screenplays for action flicks “Chronicle,” “American Ultra” and “Victor Frankenstein,” all of which bear a streak of sly, wry humor. In his directorial debut, the sexually fluid rom-com “Me Him Her,” which Landis also wrote, the comedic balance is thrown off by a manic, nearly hysterical energy.
The story of TV heartthrob Brendan (“Point Break” remake stud Luke Bracey) struggling to come out of the closet feels stale and panicky for the sexual politics of the entertainment industry in 2016.
Brendan calls on his best friend, Cory (Dustin Milligan), to fly out from Florida and offer moral support, but Cory disappears on his first night after dragging Brendan to a gay bar and inadvertently outing him with the paparazzi. Cory’s off into the night with Gabbi (Emily Meade), a depressed lesbian recently dumped by the witchy, cheating Heather. While those two navigate their confusing coupling, Brendan flails about and fails to move forward.
The film suffers from too many ideas, resulting in an attention-addled, tonally inconsistent piling on of quirks — dream sequences, cutesy on-screen text (“Lesbian Yoda” is a choice example), a kidnapping to the desert and a sword fight, of all things. As the shrieking peaks, what’s left of the audience’s goodwill quickly dissipates. A first-time effort that clearly needed to be exorcised, it is better left unseen.
‘Me Him Her’
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica.