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Since You've Been Gone Reviews

Reviewed By: Brian J. Dillard

Though it treads familiar ground plot-wise, this low-key comedy offers a likable cast of talented unknowns and an engaging mixture of high and low comedy. Sitcom star David Schwimmer, branching out into directing, plays a nasty pathos-free variation on his signature Friends role, but shows a steady hand behind the camera. Juggling more than a dozen characters and deftly juxtaposing their misadventures at a high-school reunion, Schwimmer keeps things moving fast enough that the material's essential weightlessness becomes irrelevant. Some of the comedic performances fire on more cylinders than others, notably Lara Flynn Boyle's part as a vicious practical joker and Heidi Stillman as a self-congratulatory, self-help guru. The bawdy set pieces aren't always as fresh or as funny as they'd like to be, but the script usually returns to its strong suit: humor rooted in character. Philip Rayburn Smith and Joy Gregory make appealing romantic protagonists, while Joey Slotnick belies clichés as their not-so-token gay friend. Since You've Been Gone is hardly an important film, but its black humor is far quirkier -- and its unsentimental introspection is far more convincing than the initial premise would seem to promise.