For a cast of actors that I can't remember seeing in film before (yes, I live in a cave), I had extremely low expectations. The first 30 minutes of the film did nothing to assuage these expectations either. Thankfully, the film finally picked up some steam and caught my interest before I dozed off because there's actually something worth seeing in Finding Joy.
The film follows Kyle, an author struggling to begin writing his second book and finally returning to his family's home out of desperation. His family is...well, quirky is putting it nicely. But their dysfunction serves as a means of advancing the story. Each character, from Kyle to his agoraphobic father, nudges the plot along in some tiny way. You just have to make it past some somewhat uncomfortable moments first. In a lot of ways, the film almost touches on greatness but stops just short of reaching it. Kyle ends up meeting his father's neighbor, Joy, a woman who spends her time volunteering everywhere and believes she's dying. She coerces Kyle into writing her obituary, believing that he'll be more capable of it than she.
The story is admittedly odd, and the humor is sometimes borne more from discomfort than anything else. It took me a while, but I finally realized that Kyle is actually supposed to really be that awkward; it's not a failing of his character or Josh Cooke, the actor portraying him. The story does have a few missed opportunities; instead of merely glossing over death or any other deeper moments, it could have delved deeper, but it instead stayed fairly lighthearted. That's not to say that the film is lacking in emotion, but it's missing the lows to match the highs that are already present.
The greatest thing about Finding Joy is that the the characters grow and morph into different people. Throughout the film, you find that they begin to relate differently to one another. And it's not always in a cheesy and expected way, just sometimes. Like the clown suit. Once you watch Finding Joy, you'll understand.