Peep World is a 2010 American comedy-drama film directed by Barry W. Blaustein and starring an ensemble cast, including Ron Rifkin, Lesley Ann Warren, Ben Schwartz, Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Kate Mara, Judy Greer, Stephen Tobolowsky, Taraji P. Henson, and Alicia Witt. The story revolves around the Meyerwitz family causing trouble to each other after the youngest member reveals each other's secrets in his novel. It premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival on September 15, 2010 and was released by IFC Films on March 25, 2011. Peep World garnered a negative reception from critics over its cliché-ridden script and the cast being given broad caricatures.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Barry W. Blaustein|
|Produced by||Keith Calder|
Paul O. Davis
|Written by||Peter Himmelstein|
Lesley Ann Warren
Michael C. Hall
Taraji P. Henson
|Narrated by||Lewis Black|
|Music by||Jeff Cardoni|
|Edited by||Evan Schiff|
|Distributed by||IFC Films|
At a dinner celebrating the 70th birthday of their father Henry Meyerwitz (Ron Rifkin), tensions among the four Meyerwitz siblings explode thanks to the success of the youngest son, Nathan (Ben Schwartz), whose new novel Peep World is a thinly veiled portrait of the family. The best-selling expose reveals the oldest, "responsible" son, Jack (Michael C. Hall), as a porn addict, the daughter, Cheri (Sarah Silverman), as a catty drama queen, and the third son, Joel (Rainn Wilson), as a living disaster with a loony plan to change his life.
The story takes place over the course of a single day. Jack, a struggling architect, is stressed about the well-being of his wife and unborn son. Cheri, an actress, wants to sue Nathan for damages since she is unable to get work. Joel, an incompetent divorce lawyer, juggles mounting financial troubles while maintaining a relationship with his client Mary (Taraji P. Henson). Nathan finds little happiness with his success due to the ongoing turmoil. Jack's pregnant wife Laura (Judy Greer) discovers him masturbating in an adult video store. Cheri continues to rant about the book and upcoming movie, but decides to attend the dinner with her religious friend Ephraim (Stephen Tobolowsky). Joel misses Mary's divorce hearing. After being given a shot for premature ejaculation issues, Nathan causes a scene during his book signing with an unwanted erection. After his publicist Meg (Kate Mara) helps him "relieve" his problem, she reluctantly accompanies him to his father's birthday dinner.
The four siblings meet at the restaurant along with their mother Marilyn (Lesley Ann Warren). Everyone is surprised when their father introduces his new girlfriend Amy (Alicia Witt), who is not only half his age, but also the actress playing Cheri in the film adaptation of the book. The family quarrels during dinner. Henry deems his children ungrateful and reveals that Amy is pregnant. Marilyn claims the children always blame someone else for their problems. The dinner ends abruptly when Henry chokes on a piece of food. Jack performs CPR, and the family rushes him to the hospital.
While waiting, Cheri asks, "What do we do if he dies?" Jack replies, "We'll live." A doctor appears to give the family news. A narrator then explains that Henry finally got his family together, though he almost died for that to occur.
- Lewis Black as The Narrator
- Ron Rifkin as Henry Meyerwitz
- Lesley Ann Warren as Marilyn Meyerwitz
- Ben Schwartz as Nathan Meyerwitz
- Michael C. Hall as Jack Meyerwitz
- Sarah Silverman as Cheri Meyerwitz
- Rainn Wilson as Joel Meyerwitz
- Kate Mara as Meg
- Judy Greer as Laura
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Ephraim
- Taraji P. Henson as Mary
- Alicia Witt as Amy Harrison
- David Packer as Eli
- Octavia Spencer as Alison
- Geoffrey Arend as Dr. Novak
- Guillermo Diaz as Jesus
- Troian Avery Bellisario as Film Set P.A.
- Deborah Pratt as Cassandra Williamson
- Leslie Speight as Wizdom
- Raja Fenske as Rajeev
Peep World premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival on September 15, 2010. IFC Films bought the film's distribution rights after its premiere at TIFF, released it on VOD on February 9, 2011 and gave it a limited release on March 25. On its opening weekend, the film grossed $6,702 from three theatres, averaging $2,234 per theater and ranking number 84 at the box office. The film earned a total gross of $14,351 in under three weeks of release, with a widest release of five theatres.
Peep World received negative reviews from critics. It holds a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 27 reviews, with an average score of 3.6 out of 10. On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a weighted score of 27 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Jesse Cataldo of Slant Magazine criticized the film for telling predictable storylines with unlikable characters that try to be sympathised in a last act redemption, concluding that "By then, Peep World has spent so much time abusing and reviling its characters that it’s impossible to see them as anything but useless." He gave the film a 1 out of 4 stars. Sheri Linden of the Los Angeles Times said the script falters with "excruciating" humor and affection among the characters "feeling false than touching". Lou Lumenick of the New York Post felt the film "strands a good cast in a sea of stereotypes and clichés" and only has "a few laughs sprinkled over its abbreviated running time as it limps to a predictable conclusion."
Christopher Bell from IndieWire found it "devoid of what makes comedy films work," criticizing the unoriginal humor being delivered by the cast and director Blaustein for poorly handling the multiple storylines like he's working on a "mediocre television pilot." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised the performances of Wilson, Henson, Hall and Greer for being the most human in the cast, saying they "help to distract you from the flat jokes, ethnic clichés and formulaic relationships noisily vying for your attention," but found the rest of the film generic, calling it "[A] family circus of dysfunction that's so familiar you may feel tempted to place bets on how everything will shake out." Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News said that the cast manage to raise the script, singling out Greer and Silverman for giving the most genuine dramatic portrayals of their characters. She gave the film 3 out of 5 stars.
- "Peep World". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- Pond, Steve (September 19, 2010). "TIFF: IFC Acquires 'Peep World'". TheWrap. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- Savage, Sophia (January 28, 2011). "Trailer Watch: IFC's Peep World". IndieWire. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- "Peep World". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Peep World Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- Cataldo, Jesse (March 20, 2011). "Peep World | Film Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
- Linden, Sheri (March 25, 2011). "Movie review: 'Peep World'". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
- Lumenick, Lou (March 25, 2011). "Peep World". New York Post. News Corp. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
- Bell, Christopher (March 25, 2011). "Review: 'Peep World' Gathers A Promising Cast And Does Nothing With Them". IndieWire. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- Dargis, Manohla (March 24, 2011). "'Peep World,' Directed by Barry W. Blaustein - Review". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
- Weitzman, Elizabeth (March 25, 2011). "Short Reviews: 'Peep World' amusing but unpolished comedy, 'Potiche' charming showcase of stars". New York Daily News. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved November 3, 2015.