Sarah Silverman and Josh Charles in I Smile Back.

Sarah Silverman gives an impressive dramatic performance in I Smile Back, a clumsy effort from director Adam Salky.

Silverman is Laney, a troubled housewife married to a successful insurance man, Bruce (Josh Charles, who was supremely awesome in Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp). She seemingly has it all—but some daddy issues have left her an emotional wreck. She guzzles wine, snorts drugs in the bathroom and screws strangers in basements. Things get even worse when she decides to quit taking her lithium.

Salky’s directorial style is, at best, flat, which doesn’t serve the sincere effort by Silverman. The comedic actress shows she can easily handle the heavy stuff, but Laney’s story is well-worn and not all that interesting. The film errs by trying to explain her behavior too much; sometimes, things are better left for the audience to figure out.

The clichés are bountiful in this one, and they wind up stranding Silverman in a movie that is beneath her performance.

I Smile Back is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and