2 out of 5 stars
FEEL THE BURN Aniston practices yoga, Zahn flirting.
FEEL THE BURN Aniston practices yoga, Zahn flirting.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

What’s missing from Management? In a word, management. Stephen Belber, the playwright of Tape, is credited as this romantic comedy’s writer and director, but someone needs to tell him that such duties require a firmer hand. Jennifer Aniston can do chirpy variations on Rachel from Friends until someone instructs her otherwise, while Shaggy-come-to-life Steve Zahn is an effortlessly cryptic presence in need of guidance. Here they play mismatched lovers—Sue, a corporate rep in Arizona on business; Mike, a stalled, soulful motel night man, equal parts William H. Macy in Magnolia and Norman Bates. After he pushes into her room with a bottle of champagne, the movie sits on an appealing precipice of awkwardness, even creepiness.

Amazingly, Mike’s overture succeeds. (To the credit of both actors, they seem surprised as well.) But what’s it going to be, Belber? Do you take your characters to the edge of stalkery strangeness? Do you send Mike on two cross-country quests in pursuit of Sue’s heart? Do you add a loopy ex-boyfriend (Harrelson, channeling his most toxic impulses)? And what about that dying mother or the Buddhist monastery? Exercising all of these options shouldn’t be possible, yet that’s just what schizoid Management attempts. Histrionically scored and lost up its own quirkhole, the movie feels like a TV sitcom that doesn’t know how pretentious it wants to be.—Joshua Rothkopf

Opens Fri.

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