a) This isn't a film review blog and
b) Since Toby came along we get to watch on
average one film per year. And even then we generally fall asleep for the last half of it.
But it occurred to me this morning that I haven't really read enough reviews, by guys, of romantic comedies. Possibly because this is a particularly dicky film genre, or because romcoms are generally horribly contrived and commercial, or possibly just because nobody cares. But I care. A few disclaimers, though:
- Even though I care, I don't care all that much, so don't go expecting insightful research or anything.
- It's possible that I'll be reviewing a film I slept through most of. This won't stop me reviewing it, though, which gives you some sort of idea of the ethical stance I'm taking with regard to this whole exercise.
- In my opinion, the best romcom ever made was When Harry Met Sally which I first saw in 1990, when I was in first year uni, during a particularly awkward evening in which I thought I was on my first ever date, but my date didn't. That's beside the point, however. The point is that WHMS is the benchmark against which all other romcoms I review will be assesed - on the basis that WHMS is romcom perfection, and therefore would score a 1.0 on the WHMS scale. Other films will be unlikely to surpass this. A really good romcom, for example, might score 0.8 WHMS.
With me? Okay, let's begin...
To kick things off, here are my thoughts on an odd little thing we watched last night called:
Okay, basics first - I don't remember this film coming out at the cinemas, but it's a 2009 film, so it could well have slipped under my radar (see point (b), above). Either that or it's gone straight to DVD. You can tell its a romcom, because it has Matthew McConaughy (henceforth to be known in these reviews as ROMCOM GUY) in it, which by default sticks it straight into the romantic comedy genre, and at the same time loses it 0.2 WHMS's. It also has Jennifer Garner, and the girl who was the little kid on Party of Five, which I never watched and so don't know her name.
The plot is simple. ROMCOM GUY plays a prick, who is a famous fashion photographer who idolises his dead uncle (a Hugh Hefner-esque creation played by Michael Douglas, who looks increasingly like his father except without the charm...) and as a result treats women like objects. (Boo...hiss...) It's finely nuanced and subtle characterisation, the same as you'd expect to find in a Rob Schneider film (I'm fishing for a nasty letter to Variety with that one...) ROMCOM GUY's character is opposed to the whole concept of marriage.
Vehemently so. And so he destroys his little brother's wedding. In my opinion, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as the little brother in question was getting married to the neurotic, insipid and frankly annoying character played by Pary-of-five girl. (Though later in the movie, ROMCOM GUY does punch her father unconscious, and thereby saves the wedding, so that's okay...)
During the course of the wedding weekend, (Here's where it gets a little odd...) ROMCOM GUY is haunted by (In a bizarre Dickensian twist) His uncle and the ghosts of his past, present and future girlfriends. This involves a long and convoluted subplot involving Jennifer Garner, and which I really can't be arsed repeating, but suffice to say that at the end of the film, ROMCOM GUY has seen the error of his ways, saved the wedding through violence and the wanton destruction of his dead uncle's car, and hooked up with Jennifer Garner.
So it's sort of Mills and Boon meets A Christmas Carol meets Ghost
Here's the weird thing, though - even though the various elements of this film have train-wreck written all over them, when all is said and done I actually kinda liked it. It kept me awake until the end, for one thing. It drew a couple of laughs, for another. It was also (I'm fairly certain) shot for the most part in the same mansion that they used for the awesome Cruel Intentions. Basically this is good brain in neutral on a saturday night material.
MY RATING: 0.65 WHMS