Zach Braff's All New People Is Dark and Quippy at Stray Cat Theatre in Tempe

Monday, December 9, 2013
Phoenix New Times

It's plenty of fun to listen to these four recount their lives and what's wrong with them, or just to watch Peck respond to their sassy stories, which he, arguably the leading man here, spends rather a lot of time doing. Done well, excess can be amusing, and Braff's sharp wisecracks about sex, social diseases, and prostitutes and the endless onstage drinking and Hoovering of cocaine are as good as such vulgarity gets.

And so if, despite the enjoyable clatter of dialogue volleyed by these four outcasts, I found myself longing for some more depth to their dark stories, it wasn't because the dialogue was dreary. It was likely because the actors (particularly Howland, as the toilet-mouthed Brit, a more nuanced character and an against-type role that she's obviously savoring) got well past the brisk repartee of a roomful of broken people. If the shenanigans of these young adults occasionally tip over into cheap, easy vulgarity -- as when Myron wins a bet and gets to fondle Kim's breasts for far too long -- it's because these aren't meant to be nuanced characters of great emotional depth. Charlie and his new friends are very much like characters in a pleasantly amusing, late-20th-century sitcom -- which, ultimately, All New People turns out to be.