Standing Up, Falling Down: A Familiar Story

Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal star in Standing Up, Falling Down. Courtesy of Shout! Studios.

A stand-up comedian moves home after four years of struggling to find success in Los Angeles in the recently released Standing Up, Falling Down.

The story told in this film is one that is all too familiar.  While stand-up opportunities are all over New York City, the biggest opportunities are almost always in Los Angeles.  Take it from this improviser who weirdly became a film critic (I haven’t given up on comedy for what it’s worth).  This is a subject that I’m all too familiar with to tell you the truth.

Scott Rollins (Ben Schwartz) gave it his all in trying to pursue his dreams in Los Angeles.  Unfortunately, his career just isn’t at the point in which he wanted.  As such, Scott decides that the best decision is to move back to his parents’ home in Long Island.  There’s no sadder feeling than having to move back home but it’s the best decision for Scott.  He’s low on money so living at home could prove to be beneficial for a bit.  Only time can tell.  In the meantime, he tries reconnecting with his ex, Becky Brookes (Eloise Mumford).  The turning point in Scott’s life comes when he meets a dermatologist, Marty (Billy Crystal).  It’s through this friendship where the two figure out how to bounce back following their failures.

Both Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz have the chemistry that makes this film work.  It doesn’t matter that we’ve seen similar stories being told before.  If the two of them didn’t have chemistry, it would certainly be a different story.  Neither of their characters are perfect, which explains why this film will probably resonate with audiences.  The thing about their characters is that they try their best to get over their regrets.  This is something that isn’t always easy but it’s a worthy goal to achieve.

Going back to the subject of comedy for a moment.  It’s always possible to succeed in LA.  Sometimes, it’s about being in the right place at the right time.  All you need is the right person being in the audience on a particular night and your career can change in an instant.  Even at that, LA might not be the right city.  Sure, it has the industry connections but you honestly never know what your future may hold.

It’s through Standing Up, Falling Down that Matt Ratner makes his directorial debut as a filmmaker.  When you find the right script that speaks out to you, you know it’s time!  In this particular instance, it is Peter Hoare’s script that spoke to Ratner.  The result, of course, is a funny film with touching moments.  When all is said and done, Standing Up, Falling Down is a heartwarming film about getting a second chance in life.

DIRECTOR:  Matt Ratner
CAST:  Billy Crystal, Ben Schwartz, Eloise Mumford, Grace Gummer, Nate Corddry, Jill Hennesy, Caitlin McGee, David Castañeda, with Debra Monk and Kevin Dunn

Shout Studios opened Standing Up, Falling Down in theaters and Digital/VOD on February 21, 2020. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.