Goodbye to All That

December 19th, 2014


Goodbye to All That

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When his wife unexpectedly informs him that she wants a divorce, well-meaning but oblivious husband Otto Wall finds himself thrust back into bachelorhood, where he searches for the real thing amidst a string of one night stands.

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 6.4/10 (59 voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Angus MacLachlan

Stars: Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Anna Camp

When his wife unexpectedly informs him that she wants a divorce, well-meaning but oblivious husband Otto Wall finds himself thrust back into bachelorhood, where he searches for the real thing amidst a string of one night stands.

Paul Schneider - Otto
Melanie Lynskey - Annie
Audrey P. Scott - Edie
Anna Camp - Debbie Spangler
Heather Graham - Stephanie
Heather Lawless - Lara
Ashley Hinshaw - Mildred
Michael Chernus - Freddie
Amy Sedaris - Holly
Celia Weston - Joan
Ben Baker - Richard Watts
Steven Hall - Dr. James Donlon
Beth Bostic - Ginny
Amelie Clare - Girl Camper
Steve Coulter - Lawyer

Taglines: A modern divorce story.


Official Website: Official Facebook

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 17 December 2014

Filming Locations: North Carolina, USA

Technical Specs


User Review



GOODBYE TO ALL THAT is an offbeat saga of a clueless guy finally finding his way. Too many plot gimmicks and difficulty in relating to the main character marks this as an interesting but unsuccessful exercise.

Paul Schneider, best known on TV's Parks and Recreation, stars as Otto, a runner who stumbles in the opening sequence, severely injuring his foot. A doctor later mockingly threatens to cut it off if he doesn't stop stressing the limb, but Otto predictably keeps running anyway. His character is an athlete used to persevering through pain, and writer- director Angus MacLachlan surely piles on plenty of pain for the rest of the film (script has him accident-prone, even losing a capped tooth twice, once swallowed).

His beautiful wife Annie (Kiwi thesp Melanie Lynskey) drops the first bomb by inviting him early on to a therapy session, in which he's flatly informed their marriage is over. Otto is so clueless he doesn't even know she's seeing a therapist, and the comical scene sets up the premise of his being a schlub who doesn't really pay attention to what's going on in his life.

Actress-heavy cast has women portrayed in very negative terms, with Otto always the center of attention and carrying film's point-of-view. While not overtly sexist this motif is tiresome as we are treated to the self-centered wife, callous therapist, strange and slightly threatening boss (comedienne Amy Sedaris effective in a brief turn) and a succession of extremely flakey women who all hop in the sack with Otto once he's separated from his wife.

Outlandish (and unbelievable) premise is that these beautiful women can't keep their hands off him, just as in a lousy vintage porn film. GOODBYE TO ALL THAT is far from porn of course, with the sex scenes played more for laughs than eroticism. Guest star Heather Graham even manages to consummate a zip-less intercourse with Otto without removing a single article of her clothing. A cute sex toy is featured in several scenes for effective laughs and even plot device (pun intended) usage, qualifying the film in contemporary standards of vulgar comedy. The film's likely R rating, however, will undoubtedly stem from frequent dropping of the F-bomb on the soundtrack, rather than visual sex content.

Schneider tries hard but fails to be believable as the ladies' man hero (though I see one fan compares his looks rather wishfully to tennis great Roger Federer). As written, the role's combination of ineptness and wishy-washyness with allure and sexiness would probably call for the talents of the late Dudley Moore - I can't think of a current A-list star who would qualify, maybe Ashton Kutcher in a stretch.

Only truly sympathetic character is Otto's nine-year-old daughter (well-played by Audrey Scott), around which his life ultimately revolves. She is the force behind the film's "lady or the tiger" ending, which rounds out auteur MacLachlan's themes.

Film reminded me vaguely of John Cheever's classic story THE SWIMMER, which was made into an unsuccessful film starring Burt Lancaster in the '60s, though Otto's journey doesn't rise to the allegorical level of its predecessor.

Over-dependence (as in so many 21st Century movie and TV productions) on mobile technology to carry the story forward is a major drawback. In this case Otto uses Facebook or his mobile phone to call or text women leading to the hookups. His lost love crush on Lara (Heather Lawless) is rekindled after seeing her at a 20 year reunion, but he only sees her (in 2 scenes) face to face for less than 5 minutes, ruining the "reconnected" premise.

North Carolina locations are attractive and perhaps the film's greatest asset.


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