"You will never have anything or anyone you want."
A woman and a man exit LAX hand-in-hand, heading toward his car. He approaches her at the passenger side door and begins to unbutton her jeans. She lets loose a cute smile and says, "It was really nice to meet you on the plane." He returns the grin, albeit displeased, and the two hop into the vehicle. Such is the beguiling effect that this particular woman possesses. There is plenty more to come. Her name is Martine.
Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is a 23-year-old aspiring filmmaker. She has traveled west from New York City to meet with Peter (John Krasinski), a sound engineer who is soon to book a gig with a major tentpole. Right away, the attraction between the two is palpable, just never explained. Director Ry Russo-Young goes out of her way to illustrate just how captivating Martine is. Peter can't escape her female wiles; neither can his buff assistant, David, nor the guy from the airport. She's a new age form of siren, luring men into her underwear instead of onto scores of jagged rocks.
The number of sexed-up personas doesn't stop there, though. Peter's wife Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a therapist who develops an uneasy connection with one of her clients; Julie has a daughter from a previous marriage, Kitt, who is sweating over David, but also kind of has a boyfriend; Kitt's Italian tutor has an extremely uncomfortable way of going about studying, teaching her inappropriate words and questions. Kitt is 16-years-old. The only normal one appears to be Julie's ex, Leroy (Dylan McDermott), a disillusioned musician who comes by every so often for awkward family dinners.
Martine and Peter saunter around his and Julie's lavish home, testing what effects to incorporate into her experimental work about ants. Squishing lemons, the surface tension of a pool, all serve to highlight their burgeoning attraction, and also the very pleasing camera work that Russo-Young commands. Thirlby pulls off adorable just fine, adorning stylish jeans and a pixie haircut; Krasinski continues his goofy, approachable identity. Everyone else is passable, if not boring. Like other films that focus on the City of Angels, all the scenes bathe in a dreamlike luster. Peter acts as such, thinking that his improper behavior will incur no repercussions.
NOBODY WALKS hardly moves at all. Its script is co-written by Lena Dunham, the creative mind behind 2010's TINY FURNITURE and HBO's GIRLS. Both serve to accentuate Dunham's talent at memorable and smart dialogue. Shockingly, all of this is absent, here. The characters share their time standing around googly-eyed, or being petulant. I love film, all aspects of it. So it's a huge disappointment to watch a feature detailing (albeit minimally) what goes into a project, especially one so personal, only to see it add up to something far less diminuitive than Martine's six-legged friends. As soon as she arrives, Martine just as quickly disappears. LA's visiting human catnip slinks back to her natural habitat.