The new Jane Fonda/Catherine Keener hippie comedy is a bum trip, man....
MPI / 96 Minutes / 2011 / Unrated / Street Date: October 2, 2012
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding isn't a hippie movie, it's a bad one. Presented with movie-of-the-week simplicity and a one-note comedic structure that tethers the whole affair to the ground from the get-go, this Jane Fonda throwback flick is absolutely dead on arrival - you'll be itching for the fast-forward button around the fifteen-minute mark.
Tell me when the movie starts to sound familiar: a successful NYC lady (Catherine Keener) becomes disillusioned with her life when her husband up and leaves her, and she decides that maybe getting away from it all will help things, so she packs up the kids (Elizabeth Olsen and Nat Wolff) and heads north to a commune in Woodstock. This is where her hippie mom (Fonda) holds court, and over the course of an impossibly long ninety minutes, we watch everything fall into place for our maligned protagonist and her kin.
But there's no fun to be had with Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. In addition to its woefully precious title, there is very little here that offers up authentically engaging fun. Even funny ha-ha hippie-stoner moments are few and far between: Jane looks like she's having a blast channeling her Vietnam-era persona as her character attends war protests and sells a lot of grass, but she doesn't share her buzz with those of us on the other side of the TV set.
No, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding is a loss on all fronts. Rom-com staple Jeffrey Dean Morgan has an affably pleasing turn as the dude who teaches Keener to love again, but the film as a whole can't escape the rampant cliches that it constantly babbles our way. There's definitely room for a fish-out-of-water hippie-dream comedy in the market, but no amount of tie-dye can save Peace, Love & Understanding from itself.