Pallbearer [1996]

David Schwimmer plays a drifting twentysomething who receives a telephone call out of the blue to be a pallbearer at the funeral of someone he supposedly knew in school. Trouble is, the caller has mistaken Schwimmer's character for someone else, but our hapless hero--who still lives with his mother at home--doesn't know how to say no. An encounter with the dead man's mother (Barbara Hershey) leads to a sexual relationship, while an old flame (Gwyneth Paltrow) from high school is suddenly on the horizon if only Schwimmer's loser character can quickly get his act together. This umpteenth variation on the Oedipal conflicts in Mike Nichols's The Graduate doesn't have the imagination, vitality, or authority to take classic themes about growing up all the way to the finish line. But in its brooding, comic way, it is honest about the difficulties of crossing the line into adulthood when one doesn't know how. --Tom Keogh

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