People Like Us demonstrates how a drama can be heartfelt and bogus at the same time. Chris Pine, acting with itchy self-regard, plays a hustler who learns that his late dad (a fabled Laurel Canyon record producer) had a secret life — an illegitimate daughter he helped raise, then abandoned. She’s played as a troubled adult by Elizabeth Banks, who seems to grow with every role. The movie’s central situation is all too plausible. So where’s the fakery?
It’s there in the characterization of Banks’ floppy-haired brat of a son (Michael Hall D’Addario), who’s got the perfect line for every occasion in a way that no human child does. It’s there in how Pine, neglecting his girlfriend (Olivia Wilde), latches onto Banks and comes to care about her — but no way is he going to reveal that he’s her half brother, because that secret is the motor that ”drives” the film. It’s there in the use of vinyl albums as signifiers of integrity. For all that, Pine and Banks are just good enough to suggest that in an honest movie, they would have been even better. C+