Touchy Feely Blu-ray Review
Drama and Comedy – Two separate genres emoting two separate emotions. It’s difficult enough to focus on one and twice as difficult when making a film that balances both. When done right, the results are usually powerful. But when done poorly, a film becomes a sloppy mess of epic proportions. TOUCHY FEELY sadly lands on the latter as a movie that has no idea of its identity.
Paul (Josh Pais) is a socially awkward dentist who is stuck in his ways. His practice is going under and he refuses to listen to new ideas proposed by his daughter Jenny (Ellen Page). Paul’s sister Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a bit more easy going; she works as massage therapist and is planning on moving in with her boyfriend Jesse (Scoot McNairy). Both siblings seem to have a reversal in fortune as Paul’s business gets a boost from his unknowing healing touch and Abby begins a mysterious skin phobia that affects her work and love life.
Director and writer Lynn Shelton appears to have an idea that she believes in but seems to have forgotten to fully flesh it out on paper before filming. The actions come off random and the emotions feel forced. There is talent within the confines of TOUCHY FEELY, unfortunately it’s hard to find in the material. The parallel journeys don’t say anything deeper while the characters come off awkward rather than funny and annoying rather than tragic.
None of the story lines are given much time for the audience to truly care about the characters. An odd subplot involving Jenny crushing on Jesse is out of place, while the rest of the ups and downs seem rather random. Likewise is a slightly funny but uneven relationship between Allison Janey’s ‘energy specialist’ and Paul. I never fully understood the mental state of Paul as the performance from Pais appears to be a little disabled rather than socially inept.
TOUCHY FEELY is a mess of screenplay that doesn’t know its purpose in story or genre. The comedy is confusing and the drama is bland. I for one was never charmed nor delighted, never grasping the purpose. Worse than that, I was never engaged enough to care.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 1.78:1) The picture is fine utilizing more muted tones.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The film makes the most out of a more quiet sound from its characters.
Commentary with writer/director Lynn Shelton, Rosemarie DeWitt and Josh Pais: I’m not sure they get it either or they pretend that it’s so obvious that it’s not worth talking about. Shelton alludes to the fact that she didn’t have the easiest time editing the film with some confusion between drama and comedy. Mostly they just pat each other on the back for things that I didn’t get from viewing the film.
Outakes (4:12): These are more like comedic deleted scenes, mostly involving Josh Pais and Allison Janey.
Deleted Scenes (6:30): Four scenes involving the main character that don’t really add much, which actually match most of the scenes left in the film already.
Interviews (31:51): You can play all or watch the interviews individually, which include: Allison Janey, Scoot McNairy, Josh Pais, and Lynn Shelton. They talk about the characters and working on the film.
AXS TV: A Look At Touchy Feely (3:02): A mesh of some of the above interviews cut with scenes from the film.