It's tough enough to pull off one of those "intertwined stories" ensemble dramas without any distractions from the casting.

It’s tough enough to pull off one of those “intertwined stories” ensemble dramas without any distractions from the casting.

But when your cast includes Dane Cook in a dramatic turn, I’m pretty much distracted.

“Answers to Nothing” follows the lives of a group of seemingly disparate Angelenos, from a couple (Cook and Elizabeth Mitchell of “Lost”) looking to conceive a baby to a detective (Julie Benz of “Dexter”) investigating a young girl’s disappearance.

Writer-director Matthew Leutwyler shows some talent, but he bites off a bit too much here. There are moments of real tenderness, but the film is saddled by storylines that needed to be trimmed.

And while Cook’s name may get the movie in more theaters, this isn’t some revelatory dramatic turn for the comedian. The joke’s on us.