Picks and Pans Review: Behind Everyman
By David Israel
From the proud lineage of neurotic Manhattan bachelors comes Israel’s endearing 28-year-old aspiring screen writer/borderline loser who ruminates on the origins of mini carrots and wisecracks his way through a string of girlfriends. Sound familiar? The scenario maybe warmed-over Seinfeld, but Israel’s hero, despite the obligatory snarkiness, has a warm and gooey center. (Ironically, however, he never has a name; Israel calls him “Everyman”—a conceit that, along with the second-person narrative, could be seriously annoying if it weren’t leavened with heart and humor.)
As it happens, Mr. Everyman is really an old-fashioned guy, wanting nothing more than marriage, kids and Hollywood megastardom. Things look up when he meets grad student Sonja—even if she has Epstein-Barr and lives with her folks on “please god nooo, Long Island”—and it’s not long before their ups and downs provide grist for his budding screenplay. But can he finagle a happy ending? The answer is visible a mile away, but Israel’s debut still manages to disarm with loads of menschy charm.