Flawed, but enjoyable
John Cusack and Diane Lane, two of the most interesting actors working
today, make this somewhat predictable romantic comedy work. They flesh
out characters from a pretty weak script, and make you want to know
those characters better.
This film is not rocket science, but if you expect to enjoy a bit of
romantic fluff, you will not be disappointed. The only frustrating
thing is knowing how much more both of these fine actors is capable of.
Given a strong script and inventive director, can you imagine what a
great film they could make together?
For this viewer, the weakest part of the script was the two-dimensional
nature of some the supporting characters. For example, why would a
sensitive, romantic boat builder like Jake have a strip-club-loving
sleazy lawyer friend as his only male pal? And while the long suffering
younger brother character is amusing and well acted, his wife is
non-existent. Also, why would the father become a Lothario upon the
death of his wife? If he was really a great guy, wouldn't he continue
to act that way?
Also, the script never seems sure whether it wants Diane Lane's
character to be comical or touching. The montage showing her entering
computer dating with a gusto seemed forced - it aimed for a Bridget
Jones type breeziness, but missed - and the singalong to the Partridge
Family theme song scene was downright embarrassing. Thankfully Cusack
was not subjected to that scene!
All in all, a good one to see if you love the leads, but don't expect
belly laughs. It might leave you a little wistful for a romantic comedy
as fresh as "Say Anything".... (sigh).
Saw this movie as a preview last night. I think they have a real
winner. Perhaps even a major hit. Good movie, strictly a chick flick.
Some excellent writing. Some very clever banter and very funny
Some of the plot seemed not credible and off, and the overall premise
is fairly corny, although with some original touches. The kids and
animals are adorable, and add good color to the movie, although Newfies
generally slobber a lot. Setting seems to be in a combination of
Boston, Boulder, LA, and San Diego, with blue collar folks living in
modest houses with lavish interiors. Must be nice to be in grad school,
living in a trailer, and driving a BMW M3 convertible.
But Diane Lane is utterly winning, classy, and stunning, when she is
not rather convincingly looking a little dowdy and aging.
Cusak is really "on." The chemistry between Cusak and Lane is palpable.
To me, but not the other three viewers with me, a point of lack of
credibility was that Lane's character would have any ambivalence or
uncertainty toward the Cusak character. The camera loves them both.
All of the supporting acting is great, particularly Stockard Channing
as the brassy girlfriend of the father. That would have been an easy
part to leave two dimensional, but Channing is nuanced/deep. Elizabeth
Perkins is completely credible and engaging as one of the sisters
trying to get Diane Lane back into the game after a divorce. Chris
Plummer is perfect as the father--handsome, loving, wise, and sad. The
Lane character's entire family is sweetly supportive and believable..