Review: Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

The film is a Big Chill for children of the early ’90s.

Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Photo: Strand Releasing

If cinema is a reflection of the culture that produces it, then perhaps more attention should be paid to American films’ current infatuation with whiny man-children petrified of adulthood and its responsibilities. The guys of Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace are domestic Indiedom’s latest retarded adolescents, confronting their 30s by bitching and moaning about sex, women, women who want them to have kids, and receding hairlines, not a single one seemingly capable of facing encroaching midlife with levelheaded calm. A Big Chill for children of the early ’90s (replete with an Ace Of Base reference), writer-director Bruce Leddy’s drama charts the reunion of five college friends and former a capella singing troupe members at the Hamptons wedding of buddy Greg (Mark Feuerstein), where they’re expected to stage a comeback show. Gathering at the beach house of laidback stud Spooner (Chris Bowers) to rehearse and reminisce, the gang endures a stint in jail, a suicide attempt, an accidental shooting, and the temptations posed by a hot Swedish nanny (Camilla Thorsson). Revelations, tears, and joy are scored to all-vocal renditions of John Mayer, Coldplay, and Phil Collins tracks, while clunky narration from de facto protagonist David (David Harbour) and recent divorcé Richard (Reg Rogers)—whose macho sex talk ludicrously clashes with his feminine mannerisms—helps spell out the wispy life lessons lurking beneath the story’s jovial palling-around. Though Sing Now is about, and for, weak-kneed men incapable of coping with a few gray hairs, the film is at least evenhanded when it comes to its reductive, one-trait characterizations, with its females relegated to embarrassing and/or shrill types: the object of lust (Thorsson), the unhappy sex hound (Molly Shannon), the procreation-crazy pest (Rosemarie Dewitt). Regardless of how much depth of personality they’ve been given, however, these old friends’ endless banter about dream girls, regrets, and fears of the future is so juvenile and egocentric that one desperately wishes they’d take their signature greeting literally: “Shut up!”

 Cast: David Alan Basche, Chris Bowers, Samrat Chakrabarti, Alexander Chaplin, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Feuerstein, David Harbour, Elizabeth Reaser, Reg Rogers, Molly Shannon, Liz Stauber, Camilla Thorsson  Director: Bruce Leddy  Screenwriter: Bruce Leddy  Distributor: Strand Releasing  Running Time: 94 min  Rating: NR  Year: 2006

Nick Schager

Nick Schager is the entertainment critic for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in Variety, Esquire, The Village Voice, and other publications.

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