Movie review of “The Hollars”: John Krasinski directed and stars in this screwball comedy about a dysfunctional family. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

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Crowded, cornball and too busy for its short running time, “The Hollars” nevertheless generates a few moments of grace and reflection.

Most of these involve Sally, a wise, crusty matriarch (played by the perfectly cast Margo Martindale) who seems prepared to lose her battle with brain cancer. But her guilty husband (Richard Jenkins) didn’t recognize the symptoms in time and their sons are emotional wrecks.

Ron Hollar (Sharlto Copley) is a divorced man tied to a high-school sweetheart and living in the basement of the family home. John Hollar (John Krasinski) is a graphic novelist who may not be good enough to be competitive. They share a crippling sense of disappointment in how their lives have turned out.

Movie Review ★★½  

‘The Hollars,’ with Sharlto Copley, Richard Jenkins, Margo Martindale, Anna Kendrick, John Krasinski. Directed by Krasinski, from a screenplay by James C. Strouse. 88 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some language and thematic material. Guild 45th.

The people who surround them seem more adjusted to their fate. John has a pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) who seems to be trying to buy her way into the family. A glib minister (Josh Groban) offers advice that’s both inappropriate and sensible.

As dysfunctional-family screwball comedies go, “The Hollars” isn’t as satisfying as “Joy” or “The Family Fang.” Krasinski, who also directed the film, may have spread himself too thin; there’s a desperation about the closing scenes, cluttered as they are with bouncy pop songs on the soundtrack.

The finale almost becomes a parody of a dramedy, uncertain about its identity as either comedy or drama. But when Martindale and Krasinski share the screen, it’s easy to get caught up in their farewell.