'Answers to Nothing' review (Zero stars): "Crash" into a wall

  • "Even without Dane Cook, this movie would be horrible."
"Even without Dane Cook, this movie would be horrible."
December 01, 2011|By Matt Pais | RedEye movie critic

Zero stars (out of four)

The examination of class in “Answers to Nothing” consists of Ryan (Dane Cook) briefly looking at a homeless person. The examination of race boils down to an African-American woman (Kali Hawk), who says she hates black people, deciding to look on the bright side. As for the discussion of infidelity, there isn’t one. Ryan simply cheats on his wife Kate (Elizabeth Mitchell)—he’s so sleazy he tells the romantic story of his grandparents’ love while receiving oral sex from his mistress Tara (Aja Volkman), causing him to be late to an artificial insemination session with Kate—and neither reflects on nor suffers any consequences from his deceit.

I don’t think I need to go on, but I will. “Answers to Nothing” has no answers because it has no questions. Director/co-writer Matthew Leutwyler possesses no insight about sadness or human suffering. He simply copies the people-in-L.A.-connected-as-if-only-seven-people-live-there structure of “Crash” and creates several poorly conceived situations for characters to endure without perspective. That means the tale of recovering alcoholic Drew (Miranda Bailey) selfishly insisting on caring for her brother with disabilities even though she’s obviously not the best choice; totally unnecessary character Evan (Evanston native Zach Gilford of “Friday Night Lights”) finding a dog and naming it after his sister, because that's the only girls' name he knows; and an investigation of a missing 11-year-old girl that comes to a ridiculous end with no help from Frankie, the detective on the case played terribly by Julie Benz.

From Tara writing horrendous lyrics like “You are relentless in the way that you ask me so many questions of my days in the city” to Frankie and Kate toasting, “Here’s to pain” to Ryan complaining that he’s “emotionally forgotten” the meaning to “intimate love,” “Answers to Nothing” will make you hate words--and these idiots who refuse to stop saying them without actually saying anything at all. Speaking of which, Drew: Even after running seven miles, it’s never OK to say, “I’m sweating like a rapist.”


Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais

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