Aaron Eckhart is the eponymous Bill of the title, a man who has all but given up. He's fat and flabby from sneaking Snickers bars everytime he gets stressed (which is a lot), he works in his father-in-law's bank in a made-up position, and his marriage to wife Jess (Elizabeth Banks) has lost all its passion. On top of it all, he's been roped into mentoring a smart-alec high-school student (Logan Lerman).
Suspicious of his wife and a smarmy local TV anchor (Timothy Olyphant), Bill decides to find out the truth. which sets him on a path of self-discovery, led ironically enough by Lerman's character, who helps Bill to stand up for himself and consider other possibilities.
The main cast is filled out with a host of characters, including Jessica Alba as Lucy, the salesgirl that Lerman's character is constantly hitting on and who helps Bill to change his image; Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis as the owners of a donut franchise that Bill wants to buy into; Craig Bierko and Reed Diamond as Bill's brother Sargeant and Sargeant's boyfriend, respectively.
Bill was written by Melisa Wallack, and was co-directed by Wallack and her husband, Bernie Goldmann. This is the first feature film for the pair as directors/writer.
Bill is an entertaining film, and Eckhart does a convincing job as the sad sack title character, making him sympathetic, but not completely pathetic. Elizabeth Banks' Jess ends up showing a little more depth than just the stereotypical rich, bored, neglected wife. I wouldn't go as far to say the story was absolutely remarkable, but it has a fair balance between the comedic and the serious, and Wallack does eschew the conventional ending.
While Wallack was in Toronto, she could not attend the screening as she was looking after her sick child. However, her husband an co-director Bernie Goldmann was there, along with much of the cast, including Eckhart, Banks, Lerman, Alba, Wiig, and Olyphant. They did a Q&A after the film:
- When asked what he looks for in a script, Eckhart joked, "who's the girl, and then how much, and where's it shooting". Seriously, though, if he can see himself doing it and gets excited and loses himself in the script, then it's a good indication he can do the character, and then he looks at who he's playing with and who's directing. He liked the character and the script.
- Eckhart gained about 30 pounds for the film, and wore a fat suit over that, and was constantly eating.
- Goldmann commented on how for he and his wife, the film is about shedding everything and starting again; he talked about how when you are trying to hold on so tightly to your life it's like holding on to a wet bar of soap.
- The genesis of the story was that Goldmann and Wallack had heard at a dinner party about a man who had put a tape recorder under his bed and caught his wife having sex with another man, and they both thought they had to do a movie about that.
Kristen Wiig, Aaron Eckhart, and Jessica Alba: