Shooting locations were found in the Canadian province of Quebec, then in New York, and several sets were made in Rome. For a period of some thirty years, we follow the main protagonist who has already reached adulthood. The time when the accounts are already beginning to be reduced and the results of everything he has experienced are summarized. Barni Panofski (Paul Giamatti) is the producer of commercial television series whose consumers are mostly agitated housewives. His turbulent life, marked by three failed marriages, an insatiable thirst for a sweet life that meant frequent socializing, with lots of alcohol and strong cigars, took its toll. The man tasted victories, but also defeats, he had ups and downs.
The fast-paced action, imbued with witty, lucid dialogues, from which the comic segments of this life story are drawn, easily establishes contact with the audience. Normally, we have serious segments here, so faithfully reconstructed, that they look like they were torn from someone’s life that seems well known to us. Everything that is happening is connected with our main character, who does not lack self-confidence. Regardless of the fact that at first glance it gives the impression of a guy with a bunch of flaws, Barney simply radiates his charm and witty humor conquers us in every shot.
I must mention that Paul Giamati is the right choice for such a complex character. His interpretation of a man who just wants to grab as much as possible from life is masterful, he is a great example of top acting skills.
What catches the eye are the good costumes and the skillful work of the make-up artist, because the characters are visually quite decently presented during different time periods, in the range of thirty years. Pasqual Catalano is the author of sensitive musical arrangements, which, along with artfully skilfully shot shots (Guy Dufox) deserves respect, contributes to the story taking on the contours of life-giving authenticity. So, the audience got a little bit of everything, which together provides top entertainment. A little love, then friendship, a lot of laughter, but also sadness and shed tears, deep suffering, insidious diseases, and even death.
However, it would be unfair not to point out other important characters that the director blended into one harmonious whole. Rosamund Pike (Rosamund Pike), in a somewhat unusual edition because we see her here as a brunette, managed to subtly portray the character of Miriam Grant, a woman who was the real, sincere love and strong life support of our main character. Dustin Hoffman as Izzy Panofski, a retired police officer, Barney’s father, really played his episodic role brilliantly, giving the whole story charm, warmth, because he is a character who always looks at life from a brighter side.
It is also worth mentioning the character of wife number two, who was painted with great enthusiasm by Minnie Driver (the scene when she was caught by her husband in an awkward situation is totally hilarious). As for Barney’s best friend Boogie, who later became a drug addict, I must admit that he interpreted it with a lot of tact, the somewhat forgotten Scott Speedman.
A film that is watched in one breath because it offers such attractive, intriguing content that will simply enchant you, and at the same time have great fun. Some of us are even forced to ask ourselves some important questions and to think about what we really want from life.