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The “Trouble” with Michael C. Hall’s “Bliss”

March 28, 2012

Here’s everything you need to know about The Trouble with Bliss: Michael C. Hall plays a guy named Morris Bliss. The problem’s not just the hoary, punny title; it’s the Michael C. Hall part. Don’t get me wrong: He’s a terrific actor. But his performance as Dexter‘s titular serial killer has been so indelible—erasing even the memories of his equally excellent work on Six Feet Under—it’ll be a long time before he doesn’t creep me out anymore.

And Morris Bliss isn’t supposed to creep us out. At least I don’t think he is, although he certainly has his creepy qualities. He’s a jobless 35-year-old (in real life, Hall’s in his 40’s, and he looks it) who still lives at home with his “Daddy” (Peter Fonda, looking more like his daddy Henry with each passing year). He falls into bed with a teenager (21 Jump Street‘s appealing Brie Larson), initially unaware that she’s the daughter of his high-school pal “Jetski” (Justified‘s Brad William Heineke). And we’re supposed to care about this guy… why?

Somehow this unkempt loser is irresistible not just to a high-school hottie but also to his sexy, married neighbor, played by recent Fretts on Film interviewee Lucy Liu. And she’s not the only FoF vet who’s misused in this movie: Sarah Shahi also pops up as a squatter who romances Morris’ sleazy best pal (Damages‘ Chris Messina).

How did so many good actors get roped into this misbegotten mess? Maybe because it’s based on an award-winning novel, East Fifth Bliss by Douglas Light, who cowrote the muddled screenplay with director Michael Knowles. In the geography-is-destiny department, it recently opened in only one theater—in the heart of the film’s East Village location—although it’s also streaming on Amazon, which is how I watched it.

Between Morris Bliss and Jason Segel’s similarly annoying Jeff, Who Lives at Home, I’ve had my fill of allegedly lovable underachievers who are actually just a drain on society’s resources—and my patience. If only there were a serial killer who targeted cinematic slackers…

How can Michael C. Hall overcome the Dexter curse? Post a comment!

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  1. futureconditional permalink

    This does look pretty dreadful, but then again….partial nudity! Is that just MPAA wowserism, or are there actual body parts on display? And who does the revealing? *crosses fingers & hopes for for Ms Larson*

    • bruceafretts permalink

      I don’t remember any nudity, partial or otherwise. Larson does have one bedroom scene with Hall in which she’s wearing only a dress shirt. Maybe I missed a nip slip?

  2. futureconditional permalink

    Probably for the best, the film sounds pervy enough already. As do I, come to think of it… I blame Princess Valhalla.

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