Cyclone Rewind: ‘Better Living Through Chemistry’

Dalton Gackle

Nice guys finish last. “Better Living Through Chemistry” emphasizes that, but you do not need a movie to tell you that. I can personally tell you that being a nice guy allows you to finish the race but without having really competed.

Better living Through Chemistry begins by showing nice guy Doug Varney, played by Sam Rockwell, finishing last metaphorically and literally. Everyday life for Doug is mundane. He is going through the motions, but he is not winning. He also competes with his wife in bike racing to make her happy, but he literally comes in last every time. Doug also has an overbearing father-in-law and has trouble connecting with his preteen son.

Doug’s only refuge is working at his pharmacy. While making deliveries one night, he meets the woman, named Elizabeth Roberts, played by Olivia Wilde, that will help him to start winning. She shows him that it is better living through chemistry.

On the surface, it is what it sounds like. She loosens Doug up with drugs and sex, but the best chemistry is not the kind found in prescription pills, it is the connection that two people can have with one another.

The film had good acting.This cast brings each character to life.

Sam Rockwell is Doug Varney. In some ways, his experience as Guy in Galaxy Quest gives him the credentials to play the nice guy. Rockwell is more than that, however, as his acting style draws in audiences to sympathize with his character.

Olivia Wilde plays Elizabeth Roberts. Her status as one of Hollywood’s sexiest women certainly allows her to portray an adulterous trophy wife, but Wilde is more impressive than just her body. She has proven herself to be a fine actress in a variety of films like “Cowboys and Aliens” and television shows like “House.”

Michelle Monaghan plays Kara Varney. She does well as a controlling wife. She is perhaps best known for her lead role in “Made of Honor,” but her intense acting most likely comes from her experience on the show “True Detective.”

The film is also very well written with a very good pace. It is an amazing effort for two little-known writer/directors, David Posamentier and Geoff Moore.

Thanks to these writers, a nice guy can find a way to start winning. Elizebeth teaches Doug to live for himself for once. You see, nice guys always want to help everyone else, often forgetting to help themselves. Through one chemistry-filled relationship, Doug learns to live his life pleasing both others and himself.