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Jason Sudeikis continues to impress as a romantic lead with “Tumbledown”

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Last spring, I had this to say about the recent turns of actor Jason Sudeikis while on the festival circuit: “I really love seeing an actor prove that they have another side to themselves, especially when it’s a comedic performer showing off their dramatic chops.” I went on to say that at the most recent Tribeca Film Festival in April of 2015, Sudeikis had two different projects that had him stretching in exciting new ways. One was Sleeping with Other People, who was at his all time best there, but the other is Tumbledown, which I’m going to discuss a bit today. It’s finally hitting theaters this weekend and Sudeikis is really quite excellent. He’s worthy of some acclaim here, take it from me.

The film is a mellow romantic comedy with, at the very least, dramedy undertones. Frankly, it’s pretty melancholic, as we follow a widowed wife (Rebecca Hall) and the journalist/professor (Sudeikis) hoping to be able to write about her husband, a noted musician. They eventually team up on a book, but as much as anything else, this represents the first person she’s let back into her life. The emotional beats are more or less what you’d expect, but getting there and watching Sudeikis as a romantic leading man are some of the main pleasures. That and the music from Damien Jurado, who teamed with composer Daniel Hart to craft the sound. Sean Mewshaw and Desiree Van Til co-wrote Tumbledown, while Mewshaw directs. Other members of the cast include Dianna Agron, Blythe Danner, Griffin Dunne, Joe Manganiello, and more.

Much like with Sleeping with Other People last year, Sudeikis gets to play both inside and outside of his comfort zone in Tumbledown. When he’s required to be funny in both, he’s funny, no doubt about that. There’s more going on here though. It’s when the drama and romance kicks in that you see how good of a leading man he is, with Tumbledown perhaps being the more impressive dramatic performance. You almost believe him more when he’s serious in each, but in this one, he just overall shines. Part of this is how well he’s paired with Alison Brie and Rebecca Hall, but a lot of it is just his skills on display. I was incredibly impressed last year, just as impressed this time around, and want to see more of this from him in the future.

Going forward for the man, I hope Sudeikis pursues more challenging material like Sleeping with Other People and Tumbledown. If he does, I don’t think it’s completely out of the question to say that he might one day become an Academy Award nominee for the right sort of prestige dramedy. The talent is there, in abundance. With his charisma, the sky is the limit. If we see more of this from him, he’s going to become an absolute A-lister, and not just for big budget or high concept comedies. I’m really quite taken with what I saw in these festival flicks and want more of it. Sleeping with Other People is the better film than Tumbledown, but the latter suggests an even brighter future.

On Friday, you can see Sudeikis charm Hall, as well as audiences at large, in a big way with Tumbledown. It’s not a perfect movie, but the film has a ton of heart, an emotional undercurrent to it that’s likely to touch you, and just showcases Sudeikis in all of his glory. He’s quickly becoming an underrated star to me, so I hope this flick isn’t ignored. It deserves an audiences and deserves to launch Sudeikis as a romantic lead, not just as the comedic star that he already is. Fingers crossed there, but don’t miss out on this one…

Be sure to check out Tumbledown, which begins a limited theatrical run this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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