What a pleasure it is having Sally Field back on the big screen, doing some of her finest comic work since the likes of Murphy's Romance and Soapdish. She's an absolute delight as the title character of Hello, My Name Is Doris, a picture that made its debut more than a year ago over at SXSW and is now filling art houses across the nation (clocking in at a solid #14 at the box office this past weekend, on barely more than 100 screens).
Field has largely been absent on the big screen in recent years and, let's face it, when she has graced motion pictures, she's mostly been slumming it, taking on the thankless role of Aunt May in the dull-as-dishwater Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films and picking up a paycheck for the horrendous Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. Spielberg's Lincoln was a definite bright spot, though I felt Field was playing to the last row of the balcony in that one. And she certainly deserved better than ABC's sloppy primetime soap Brothers & Sisters.
With that said! She's so wonderful in this picture, as his Max Greenfield, who surely has Chris Pratt potential to leap off the small screen and soon become a major motion picture star. This film is pure hipster heaven as Field and Greenfield party it up at an electronic concert and Field's daytime fantasies about her co-star are gut-bustingly funny - based on the reaction at my theater, this film is going to have some very nice word-of-mouth.
Beyond Field and Greenfield, unfortunately, the picture is a bit of a mixed bag. It cannot seem to decide whether it's a frothy, glossy romcom for a more mature crowd, ala a Nancy Meyers picture (it actually rings a lot of last year's underrated The Intern), or something a lot darker. There are scenes here where the film almost seems like it's on the verge of becoming something closer to an unsettling Adrian Lyne film. Tonally, it's all a bit uneasy, especially in the second half. Also, while it's a delight to see the likes of Tyne Daly, Caroline Aaron and Peter Gallagher on the big screen, it's also a bit of a letdown to see them giving almost nothing to do.
Criticisms of the picture aside, Hello, My Name Is Doris is well worth a visit for Field's dazzling big screen comeback and her wonderful chemistry with Greenfield. I am hopeful the HFPA will remember Field for a Musical/Comedy Actress nom in the next Oscar season.