|Alex Kurtzman director|
A man in deep amounts of financial debt is tasked with delivering $150,000 of his deceased father's fortune to the sister he has never met.
|Michael Hall D'Addario||Josh|
|Sara Mornell||Dr. Amanda Goldstein|
|Philip Baker Hall||Ike Rafferty|
|Barbara Eve Harris||Mrs. Haney|
|See Full Credits|
Sam is a slick New York City salesmen for a "Trade and Barter" service where people trade goods instead of selling them. He runs into some trouble when he ships soup in non-refrigerated train cars, causing them to explode. His boss tells him he is taking a huge portion of his income to pay for it and Sam must find some cheap wood to pay for the customer to get an extension to his house so the customer won't report them to the Federal Trade Commission for improper transportation of food products.
Sam returns home from work exasperated for his girlfriend, Hannah, to tell him that she just got a call saying his father died. Hannah is surprised to see Sam is not very upset about this.
Sam purposefully hides his wallet so as to miss his flight to the funeral (in Los Angeles), but Hannah gets a new flight. They miss the funeral, but are still able to get to his mother's house by the end of the day. The mother--Lillian--is angry that Sam missed the funeral.
Sam gets a call from a lawyer friend of his father saying that he should meet him to discuss dividing up the estate. Sam is told he has been left no money. The lawyer gives Sam a pouch of Sam's father. Inside are $150,000 in cash; however, there is a note telling Sam to give it to this lady and her son.
The movie cuts to Frankie. Frankie is a single mom who is a recovering alcoholic, but must work at a bar (in a slutty outfit) in order to support her and her son. She gets a call from the school saying her son, Josh, blew up a pool using the science lab's sodium. The school wants to expel Josh, but she threatens to sue for not having the sodium locked up properly if they don't let him stay.
Sam goes to the address and sees the lady, who is Frankie. He follows her around and sees her life. He returns to his mother's house and tells Hannah he has been left a huge amount of money, but he is supposed to give it to this lady and her son. He then says that when he looks at the lady he sees his father's eyes and knows she is his half-sister. Sam then says he needs the money because he is in debt and he doesn't want to give it to her. Hannah is upset and the two get into a fight. Hannah angrily leaves to go back to New York. Sam spends the night in drunken rage.
Sam goes to Frankie's Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and pretends to be a recovering alcoholic. He befriends her and her son Josh without revealing he is related to them. The three spend a great deal of time together, going to restaurants and the beach. Sam also begins to reconcile with Lillian when she finds him lying on the floor stoned and sobbing, but the mother is still furious that Sam was never around when his father was dying of cancer.
Sam finds out that Lillian is suffering from a heart condition and could die if she doesn't get treated. He begs her to go, but she says it is too late for him to be concerned about his family and she doesn't want to deal with hospitals anymore. She then says she knows he is only staying around because of some girl. The two have a heated exchange and Sam tells Lillian that the lady is his sister. Sam realizes by the reaction on Lillian's face that she knew Sam had a sister. Furious, he forces her to explain. Lillian says that she made her husband (Sam's father) pick between Frankie and her mom and Sam and her. Lillian says she did it to help her family, but then she couldn't stand to look at Sam because she only saw the girl she had made fatherless. She then says she had to do it for Sam. Sam says he disagrees, but he loves her very much. The two reconcile.
Sam calls up Hannah who says he has to tell Frankie that they are siblings.
One day, Frankie angrily asks Sam what he is doing. She says she is afraid that when he goes back to New York City he will hurt Josh and she is a little confused at the way he acts. Upset, Sam decides to return to New York City (he has lost his job for refusing to return the Federal Trade Commission's calls). In the airport, Sam is on the phone with the FTC when he gets another call from Frankie. She says that Josh broke a bully's nose and she needs help. Sam rushes to the school and consolidates Josh, though he has been expelled.
That night, Sam tells Frankie they are siblings and gives her the money. She is distraught and orders Sam never to see her or her son again.
Sam calls Hannah again saying Lillian is going to the hospital for treatment for a heart condition. He tries to say something else, but the phone cuts him off. Hannah flies to LA and asks Sam what he wanted to say. He says it was "I'm sorry for everything." The two kiss and reconcile. Sam says he must stay in LA for his mother, and Hannah agrees to move there as well.
Lillian shows Sam something (we can't see what it is). Sam rushes to Frankie's house, but she has moved out.
Josh contacts Sam and tells him that Frankie and him have moved to a new house for a new school and so Frankie can use the money to go to college. Josh says he misses Sam very much.
Sam rushes to Frankie's new house but she demands he leave. Sam says he doesn't want to because they are family. She agrees to let him in. Sam then shows a film his father had taken when he took Sam to the park when Sam was a child. It turns out the father knew that Frankie would be there (even though he had been forbidden to speak to her). Sam and Frankie ended up playing together (not knowing they were siblings, of course) and the father had videotaped it. Sam and Frankie decide to be brother and sister.
People Like Us divided critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it earned a 55% (60% is needed to change a film from "Rotten" to "Fresh"). On Metacritic, it earned a 49, which is considered "Yellow" and in the category "Mixed Reviews". 9 of the Metacritic reviews were positive, 17 were mixed, and 5 were negative. Several critics who were not on Metacritic at the time, such as Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times, liked the movie very much.
People Like Us received a very large release at over 2000 theatres (600 is all that is needed to be considered "wide"). However, it was not very successful, making only $4 million in its opening weekend in the US and not holding well (it was barely released anywhere else). The movie was not a huge flop, though, since its production budget was so low; it is likely that much more money was spent on marketing, though.
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