Hard as it is to swallow, this swooning bit of silliness concerns a sun-dappled weekend when an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) kidnaps a family, has them hide him in their rural farmhouse, cooks them chili and peach pie, seduces the lonely single mother (Kate Winslet) and, felony be damned, makes them feel like a family again. A certain kind of viewer is being targeted here: the especially lonely, attracted to scruffy manliness, bad choices and homemade desserts. The film will do until Fifty Shades of Grey turns up. The more you think about Labor Day, the more calculating it gets.
The two leads do what they can with the sentimental material; it’s almost a miracle that neither turns red with embarrassment (though this isn’t going first on their clip reels). The same can’t be said for director-writer Jason Reitman, whose sharp, cynical snap is nowhere to be felt. Love or hate Reitman’s stuff (Juno, Up in the Air), he definitely has a style, one he’s apparently got no qualms about abandoning to make mushy mommy movies.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Cast and crew