The best parts of Hello I Must Be Going are the parts where Melanie Lynskey's character is watching old Marx Brothers movies. That's because we actually see those movies, and for a few moments there's something engaging happening on screen.
The ultimate irony is that if Groucho was to appear amidst the characters of Hello I Must Be Going, he would spend the entire running time tweaking and humiliating them. The movie is about a group of extraordinarily rich white people living in Connecticut whose big dilemmas are whether they'll be able to take a trip around the world, whether they should appear on Broadway in a play about Walt Whitman and whether they should finish a photography project. They're rich and comfortable and dissatisfied and who cares.
Lynskey plays a woman who is in the middle of a divorce. She's been staying at her rich parents' home for three months, not working, just sinking into a self-serving depression. Her dad is a high powered lawyer who needs just one last big client so he can make enough money to retire filthy rich as opposed to very well off. He brings the client to dinner, and the 30 something Lynskey and the client's 19 year old son begin an affair.
So much of the film feels like a period piece that escaped the 60s. Blythe Danner, playing Lynskey's shrew of a mother, doesn't know what anti-depressants are. The fact that Lynskey is divorcing is a source of so much shame it's essentially kept secret. And Lynskey is playing a woman who was young when she married a rich lawyer, so she has no job skills or whatever. All of this feels like a story from the early 60s, but for some reason Hello I Must Be Going is set in the modern day.
There's a germ of an idea in the relationship between Lynskey and the young man (whose parents, since this is a Sundance movie, think he is gay for no compelling narrative reason), but it's buried under a snowdrift of white people problems. And at the end, when she tells the kid "You taught me how to be loved " you'll want to advance on the suburbs with a flamethrower and a satchel full of molotovs.
The film, directed by actor Todd Louiso, doesn't even look particularly interesting. It's a bland film shot blandly - a movie that slides right off the cerebral cortex. I don't fully understand why the Marx Brothers appear, or what the title really means in context - there's some talk about Lynskey always quitting things, but it isn't like the movie bothers to show any of that. The film itself, written by Sarah Koskoff, is so free of wit and insight that it feels scrubbed clean of those things.
Lynskey is fine, but she's throwing herself into a really half-baked role. Blythe Danner is the highlight of the whole film; while her character is a despicable WASP, the actress has a lot of fun with it. And in the icy waters of Hello I Must Be Going you'll be happy to grab onto any scrap.