Can you ever really come back from a significant screw-up in life? This is the question explored in Matt Ratner and Peter Hoare’s comedy, Standing Up, Falling Down. Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal are Scott and Marty, and no, the two characters are not related. Both are two men hitting the bottom of the screw-ups mentioned above.
Scott just returned home after an unsuccessful quest to become a stand-up comedian in Los Angeles. Returning with the same level of maturity as when he left, Scott’s failure is mirrored back to him in the faces of his father Gary (Kevin Dunn), mother Jeanie (Debra Monk), and younger sister Megan (Grace Gummer). Sub-plot—he also left behind/ghosted his longtime girlfriend, Becky (Eloise Mumford).
“Both hoping to create a chance meeting with the ex and the estranged son, the two sad sacks soon become close friends.”
Marty, on the other hand, did not handle the slow death of his first wife very well. Alcohol and carousing was his way of coping with death and dying. His young children were there to witness the two instances of decline in both parents and both at the same time.
After an awkward chance meeting late night at a bar, Marty becomes Scott’s new dermatologist to take care of Scott’s stress hives. Even more strange and coincidental, the two meet up at the funeral of a friend of Scott’s ex-girlfriend Becky and who is also the friend of Marty’s estranged son Adam (Nate Corddry). Both hoping to create a chance meeting with the ex and the estranged son, the two sad sacks soon become close friends.
As the film plays out, much to the dismay of his family, Scott decides to return to stand-up, rather than find a real job. Marty makes a few unsuccessful attempts to reconnect with his adult kids. As the two become better friends, the two hopefully start making better decisions about growing up and maturing into adults.