Hello, My Name is Doris (2016)
Directed by Michael Showalter
Writer-director Michael Showalter’s wet, hot, American résumé sets him up perfectly for the quirky personality of his latest feature, “Hello, My Name is Doris.” Sally Field’s youthful energy is the engine that drives this simple comedy, but a story that feels familiar, almost like “While We’re Young” meets Walter Mitty, failed to pique my interest. Even Sally Field’s potentially Golden Globe-worthy performance isn’t enough to save that.
When her fashion magazine has a major rebranding, sexagenarian accountant Doris Miller (Sally Field) got to keep her role on the team. But her new younger coworkers made her something of an outcast. She commutes from Staten Island via ferry, refusing to leave her cluttered childhood home in order to move to the city. Life with her cat is on a downward trajectory until Doris meets a new hire, John (Max Greenfield). As she tries to make excuses to talk to him—while consulting her friend Roz (Tyne Daly in a scene-stealing role) for advice—Doris remembers what it’s like to be young and have fun. But that sort of independence isn’t admired by all of Doris’s friends and family as she’s encouraged by some to act her age.
In her first starring role in years, Sally Field rebrands herself as an actress willing to take a role so unusual that I’m still in shock it’s actually her. She has an undeniable spirit, without which “Doris” would crumble in minutes. But her presence can’t entirely make up for a story so predictable, or a tone so confusing. One minute, “Hello, My Name is Doris” skewers hipster culture, laughing at the absurdity of vegan Thanksgiving and artisan vanilla-making. But a moment later, it tries to use millennial culture to its advantage. I’m not sure which audience would truly enjoy “Hello, My name is Doris.” The character doesn’t know what she wants from her new and topsy-turvy lifestyle, and neither does the movie in general.