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Management

Indie romantic dramedy is more off-putting than charming

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This is one of those frustrating movies: You can see where it wants to go, yet it just misses the mark. Writer-director Stephen Belber's small-scale dramedy takes place over a year or so, when two lonely folks bump into each other and sporadically meet for awkward, incomplete follow-ups. You kinda hope they make a meaningful connection, but then again, it's hard to really care about two people whose motivations are more often off-putting than relatable. Mike (Steve Zahn) is a man-child still sulking around his parents' motel in Kingman, Ariz.; traveling saleslady Sue (Jennifer Anniston) is first a guest at the motel, then the object of Mike's obsession. While romantic comedies often take the sting out of what the real world calls stalking, Mike's tactics in Management just made me uncomfortable. As did Sue's rather unrealistic reactions. Thus, the story verged on creepy, even though it was clear Belber was aiming for sadly sweet. The second half of the film, in which Sue returns to her cartoon of an ex-rock-star boyfriend (Woody Harrelson), further muddies the waters by introducing broader comedy and increasingly movie-only scenarios (i.e., Mike parachutes into Sue's pool). Management should have been a wistful little charmer about life's ordinary dreamers making their way, but its weirdly shaped pieces just didn't fit together. Starts Fri., June 12. Squirrel Hill

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