Since Steve Carell left The Office and Scranton's Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, he's been working non-stop. His first movie after departing the show was Seeking a Friend For the End of the World (2012, Universal, R, $28), a flawed but occasionally very funny look at a man facing the apocalypse in the company of a beautiful, vivacious stranger (Keira Knightley). Hope Springs (2012, Sony, PG-13, $30) is even better.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as a married couple who've allowed the passion to drain out of their lives. In an attempt to turn over a new leaf, they head to Great Hope Springs, Maine, where they seek out the advice of a renowned therapist (Carell). In spite of an annoying soundtrack and director David Frankel's flat direction, Hope Springs is worth seeing.
Both Streep and Jones somehow manage to make a nice, ordinary couple seem fascinating, and Carell's wry delivery is never less than note-perfect.
While the film is, deep down, a pretty serious study of a marriage in crisis, there are plenty of laughs along the way thanks primarily to Jones' exasperation with Carell's frank talk about sex.
Carell's isn't the film's only local connection. The costume designer on Hope Springs was Ann Roth, who resides in Lower Mount Bethel Township.
Roth and Carell must have hit it off because they've since reteamed for the 2013 comedy The Way, Way Back, the directorial debut of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Oscar-winning scripters of The Descendants.