(On Cable TV, April 2016) The first few minutes of Me and Early and the Dying Girl set expectations that the rest of the film struggle to match. I started the film intending it to be a background watch, stopped what I was doing to give it my full attention, then gradually drifted away to do other things. It starts in full grand quirky-comedy mode, as a sarcastic high-school loner tells us about his life, and how he’s almost forced to befriend another student diagnosed with leukemia. Glimpses at classic movie parodies virtually ensure that it is friendly to art-house audiences. But as the cancer theme becomes heavier, the protagonist becomes more annoying (lying to the audience doesn’t help) and the film starts spinning in well-worn plot tracks. From a decent companion to The Fault in Our Stars (which found decent humour and tragedy in similar material), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl becomes more detached and less relevant. It ends with a shrug (albeit a more annoying one than usual) after a strong opening, and it’s that sense of steadily lowering expectations that sticks more than any virtues that the film has. There are good touches of whimsy and strong emotions in director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s work, and I certainly look forward to what’s next from him. But I can’t help but be disappointed in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: even watching without expectations, I felt let down by its second half.