A lightweight NYC comedy that didn't get much of a release last year, "Grey Matters" focuses on brother/sister Gray (Heather Graham, who certainly doesn't look nearly 40) and Sam (Tom Cavanagh), who are the best of friends and so close that people confuse them for being "together." It gets to the point where the two realize that they have to break apart and search for someone else to spend their time with.
The two run into a promising-looking woman in Central Park and, oddly, she sets him up (playing his wingwoman, I guess) to meet her. She's Charlie (Bridget Moynahan), a zoologist who falls for Sam instantly - they get enegaged that night and decide to run off to Vegas shortly after. However, there's a problem: the thirty-something Gray realizes that she's not interested in guys, she's interested in Charlie, who she kisses before Charlie's marriage to Sam.
There's something about the initial set-up that kinda hooks the attention: Graham and Cavanaugh are an oddly perfect match, and she matches his neurotic, fast-talking, deadpan delivery that he's been doing since "Ed" pretty well. They're pretty convincing as siblings who've remained best friends and depend on one another. The film should have built up to the two coming to the realization that they need to find someone else to spend their lives with and then the end of the movie would have the two each finding their own "someone else" to go off with. However, Sam and Gray would still always be best friends and be there for each other during the difficult times and that sort of thing.
The whole thing feels so lightweight at times as to nearly blow away - it's breezy, chatty, good-natured and a bit wacky (Sissy Spacek plays Gray's therapist, who works with her in places like bowling alleys and rock climbing walls.) However, when the film has a more serious moment, it feels out of place - for all the dancing in the film, the movie's swings between comedy and drama aren't as graceful as they should be. The "love triangle" aspect also doesn't work that well due to the fact that Cavanaugh is suddenly pretty much shuttled off to the background once Gray realizes that she's a lesbian. That, and while Moynahan has a nice chemistry with both co-stars in her scenes, her character just has a few "moments" - she's not really a fully-formed character as much as a plot device. Molly Shannon and Alan Cumming are fine in supporting efforts.
"Gray Matters" does have some sweet moments between Cavanaugh and Graham, but the "love triangle" aspect of the second half doesn't work very well, as the movie doesn't seem to know whether to treat the situation seriously or for comedy. Some refining could have helped, as this had the potential to be a more memorable NYC comedy with touches of drama.
VIDEO: "Gray Matters" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered fine image quality, with a couple of slight instances of artifacting being the only concern. However, this is still not the final copy and unfortunately, I cannot make any final comments on it, as the final copy will likely offer differing (and hopefully better) image quality.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation offered just what one would expect for a dialogue-driven comedy like this one. Surrounds were rarely used, aside from some minor music reinforcement and a couple of moments of slight ambience. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and score.
EXTRAS: The trailer, a short promo featurette (essentially, an extended trailer) and trailers for other films from the studio (Haven, Find Me Guilty and Winter Passing.)
Final Thoughts: Graham and Cavanaugh make a believable pair of siblings in "Gray Matters" and the movie should have built up to the two finding other people to spend their lives with, as the "love triangle" aspect of the second half never comes together very well. Rent it.
The Film C+