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Tribeca Review: ‘Sacramento’ is a Consistently Funny Tale of Fractured Friendships

Friendships don’t stay the same as people get older, and it can be true that one person has a very different opinion of what they want a relationship to become while the other remains tethered to what used to be. It’s awkward to watch as one clings to what they think the other still wants, but that can also make for great comedy fun. Michael Angarano’s sophomore feature Sacramento is a superb buddy comedy elevated by the fact that one of its protagonists no longer wants to be buddies.

Ricky (Michael Angarano) and Glenn (Michael Cera) are at different places in their lives. A year after meeting Tallie (Maya Erskine) out in nature, Ricky is now on his own and driving everyone crazy in his support group following the death of his father. Glenn is about to be a father, and his antics, which include getting so agitated by the shakiness of the crib he built that he destroys it completely, are not helping his wife Rosie (Kristen Stewart) feel any more relaxed. When Ricky swings by to take Glenn on an impromptu road trip to Sacramento, allegedly to scatter his father’s ashes, Rosie encourages an irritated Glenn to go, if only to get him out of her hair for a short time.

Written by Angarano and Chris Smith, Sacramento is an often-hilarious journey that finds two very different people spending a great deal of time together. Glenn seems generally unpleasant, purporting that he’s hard to reach because he keeps his phone on silent since he wants to remain in the moment. That doesn’t include any friends, of course, aside from the on person he keeps calling to “catch up” so that he can prove to Ricky that there’s someone else he’d rather be spending time with than him. Ricky is hopelessly oblivious, charismatic and talkative in a way that doesn’t allow for anyone else to take up space, so genuine in his excitement and generosity of presence but also clearly masking something that’s hurting him.

As Ricky points out to an unamused Glenn, the drive from Los Angeles to Sacramento is only six hours, and when you’re sitting in the classic convertible Glenn used to drive in college, that time can feel like a breeze. Yet the point of Sacramento is that Glenn seems to relish being stressed and unhappy, and while Ricky hasn’t accepted the fact that his father has been gone a year and that he’s made some regrettable life choices, his influence is key to helping Glenn take himself less seriously and find a bit more joy in life.

Angarano, who previously dated Stewart and is now married to Erskine, has come a long way since his early days on Will & Grace and recently earned an Emmy nomination for a more dramatic role on This Is Us. Casting himself in the lead role of this film allows him to fully tap into the character, and Cera, whose Arrested Development and Superbad beginnings have given way to gruffer roles like Life & Beth, leans into the hilarity of Glenn’s nervous physicality and the way in which he almost tries in every situation to be the unhappiest one in the room.

Angarano and Cera are a winning pair, and they get a great assist from Stewart and Erskine in minor supporting roles. This comedy doesn’t reinvent the wheel but does a great job of taking what works best and amplifying it for a feature-length entertaining experience. It’s genuinely funny and makes the most of its characters’ memorable personalities. It also has some interesting things to say about friendship, an underlying message that is still resonant even if the primary focus – and fantastic feature – of this film is its sense of humor.

Movie Rating: 8/10

Awards Buzz: This film was acquired by Vertical Entertainment last week, which should give it distribution but likely won’t lead to much of an awards push. Some Golden Globe attention for Angarano and Cera wouldn’t be misplaced, but it’s probably unlikely.


  • Abe Friedtanzer

    Abe Friedtanzer is a film and TV enthusiast who spent most of the past fifteen years in New York City. He has been the editor of and since 2007, and has been predicting the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards since he was allowed to stay up late enough to watch them.

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