Movies about drugs and alcohol may be a dime(bag) a dozen, but James Ponsoldt's Smashed is as much about recovery as it is about addiction, with Ponsoldt successfully making the case that the twelve steps can sometimes be more difficult than whatever necessitated them in the first place. Kate's main obstacle in her struggle isn't her own willpower, it turns out, but rather the influence of her enabling husband, Charlie (an equally good Aaron Paul, no stranger to this sort of material) who, having never hit the same lows as his wife, can't quite see the point in getting on the wagon. Ponsoldt doesn't take sides in their frequent back-and-forth, instead letting the growing distance between the couple act as its own statement on their incompatibility. There's more speechifying than there needs to be in an otherwise low-key movie of relative brevity, but Smashed at its worst is still better than many other films of its kind at their best.
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