Writing is inherently a solitary task, one that is best performed without distractions. Yet, many would-be scribes seek the company and approval of their peers by joining a writer’s groups. “Authors Anonymous,” a new comedy from Ellie Kanner, shows how one such group splinters apart as one member achieves greatness.
Kaley Cuoco from “The Big Bang Theory” plays Hannah Rinaldi, a sweet, unassuming writer who isn’t well-read. Hannah writes from her heart, though, and her honest prose leads her to book and movie deals. As she becomes wildly successful, she finds herself losing touch with the group and good friend Henry (Chris Klein).
Anyone with aspirations of literary greatness should treat “Authors Anonymous” as a cautionary tale. Shot in a pseudo-documentary style, Kanner’s film shows how writers can be especially cruel to each other. Screenwriter David Congalton brings some honest, personal experience to the screenplay by populating the story with a rich cross-section of characters.
Chris Klein turns in another heartfelt performance as Henry Obert, a former collegiate athlete who turns to writing after blowing out his knee. Henry has talent and passion, but he lacks the courage of his convictions. He is reluctant to speak his mind to the group and lets his feelings for Hannah distract him from his work.
Dennis Farina, on the other hand, has way too much fun as John K. Butzin, a wannabe writer who worships the works of Tom Clancy. Butzin is the kind of person that many writers turn into despite their good intentions. Butzin’s experiences with self-publishing are hilarious and have a ring of truth to them at the same time.
Teri Polo and Dylan Walsh have the best moments, though, as married writers Colette and Alan Mooney. Colette makes subtle comments about her relationship with her husband while he remains obsessed with dictating offbeat character names into a portable recorder.
Jonathan Bennett seems too true-to-life as William Bruce, a young man who knows everything a “real writer” should do. He even moves to Los Angeles to walk in the footsteps of his literary idol. Unfortunately, when it comes to producing completed pages, William doesn’t deliver.
A kind of “Breakfast Club” for the literary set, “Authors Anonymous” is a fun ride thanks to the work of the ensemble cast and the real-life experiences of screenwriter David Congalton. It also drives home some practical lessons about how and when to write.
Currently playing in theaters, “Authors Anonymous” is also available on iTunes and VOD.