• by Wes Singleton

The Hollars, B-

Rated PG-13, 105 minutes

The charmingly familiar, yet touching new indie dramedy "The Hollars" pulls few surprises, but you won't have a problem leaving with a big smile on your face. Directed by and starring "The Office's" John Krasinski and featuring a talented all-star cast, its quirkiness and predictability may wear you out by the last act, but then that's part of its charm. John Hollar (Krasinski) is a struggling New York City graphic novelist, who is forced to return home when his mother Sally (the always hilarious Emmy-winner Margo Martindale) is diagnosed with a brain tumor. John is immediately swept up in the problems of his dysfunctional family, high school rival (Charlie Day), and an overeager ex-girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, underused) as he faces impending fatherhood with his girlfriend Rebecca (Anna Kendrick) in New York. The appealing, calculated but often funny "The Hollars" is a satisfying, if not occasionally uneven, look at family loyalty that is hardly anything new, but then family will always be around to bug us. I could watch native Texan Martindale in anything, and she steals the movie as the sick but opinionated Mama they call "Chief" who likes to eat pretzels and ice cream and whose favorite song is the Indigo Girls early '90s hit "Closer to Fine." Written by James C. Strouse ("Grace is Gone"), Krasinski could've easily removed a few characters (including Day, Winstead, Mary Kay Place and singer Josh Groban, all unnecessary) in "Hollars," along with a couple of annoying subplots that add little value to the narrative - particularly one involving the older brother ("District 9's" Sharlto Copley, miscast). You won't be surprised by two things that happen late in the movie, but that doesn't mean you won't shed a few tears, either, and its mantra "I'll be OK when I get there" might resonate for those still searching for something. "The Hollars" is a sweet, quirky indie comedy you've seen before, but you'll still enjoy it.

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