Courteney Cox finds dark humor in suicide in 'Just Before I Go'

Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:03am EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Movies such as "It's a Wonderful Life," have explored the subject of a life re-examined when contemplating suicide, but Courteney Cox takes a darkly comic approach to that life-or-death question in her feature film directorial debut.

The story of a vacant, aimless pet store worker named Ted who decides he is "done" with life, "Just Before I Go" begins with the dejected 40-year-old bobbing underwater while narrating his tale of woe on the soundtrack. The film then travels back in time several weeks to explore just how he got there.

Ted, played by "American Pie" veteran Seann William Scott, embarks on an odyssey back to his Massachusetts hometown to confront childhood tormenters who range via flashback from an extortionist jock bully to a nasty math teacher who relishes cruelly humiliating the boy in front his classmates.

But Ted's journey becomes a tale of the unexpected. The bully has evolved into a sensitive, remorseful widower raising a son with Down Syndrome on his own. And the math teacher lies in a stupor in an institution as Ted unleashes a volley of pent-up rage, only to be interrupted by the woman's granddaughter, (Olivia Thirlby), who decides to film Ted's suicidal saga.

Hollywood veterans Connie Stevens and Diane Ladd are also on hand as Ted's mother and an Elvis impersonator, respectively.

"It's a heartfelt story, but it's also outrageously funny, so I was very attracted to the tone of it," said Cox, 49, best known for her days as Monica on hit comedy "Friends," and now starring in the sitcom "Cougar Town," for which she has directed some episodes.

"What makes me laugh in real life is anything inappropriate," added Cox, who is also one of the producers of the independent film, which premiered Thursday night at the Tribeca Film Festival.

'HOW TO TALK TO ACTORS'   Continued...

Actress Courteney Cox poses at the Warner Bros./InStyle after party after the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California in this January 17, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files