Thursday, April 19

...and yet another Romantic Comedy

I saw a preview of the movie "The Holiday" starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law a couple of months ago and immediately added it onto my ultra-cool Blockbuster Online movie queue. I did this NOT because i am such a huge fan of the above actors but because Cameron is a hotie, Kate is cute especially with the accent, Jack is funny, and especially because Jude slept with his children's Nanny and cheated on Sienna Miller (despite his boyish looks that makes him kind of cool... I mean that's Sienna Miller man). What i gathered from the previews is that the movie is a Romantic Comedy (ya i'm smart). Naturally, because romantic comedies are so prevalent in the industry they always seem to try to give it a splash of uniqueness just so its not so similar to others... The plot is two women dealing with a same problem: men. Amanda having just broken up with her cheating boyfriend, Ethan and Iris having pined for her ex, Jasper, becoming engaged to the woman he left her for decide to take a vacation during Christmas. As a result they each sought solace which they seemed to have found when they came upon a website called home exchange and swap houses for two weeks both with a goal to forget their troubled love lives. Ironically love ends up finding them anyways...

Romantic movies like any other popular genre will always be around. Immortal if you will. I guess it's just a matter of how the movie makers market it to the movie going public. This romantic comedy in particular i think was very cleverly plotted-- just missing a few important ingredients... Jude Law is your perennial romantic persona so its no surprise to see him in such a flick and i guess you could say the same about Kate. Cameron on the other hand you could say is more plethoric or assorted in her role of choices and has become a marketable Actor since 'Something about Mary'. I think she was a great pick here in terms of casting because her sassy looks and sophistication fit the role almost perfectly. Jack Black was sort of an interesting pick because it is somewhat a deviation from what he normally plays. Sure it is a Comedy but not an outright laugh-out-loud one. He did okay although i think his acting was very reminiscent of School of Rock especially when he started to sing a lot (he played a composer).

My sister warned that the movie sort of dragged along (And it did. Probably her most accurate movie description ever... Normally its either good or it sucks LOL). Despite that the movie was interesting even the preamble part. I thought i would see Cameron in her undies though like in 'Charlie's Angels' lol disappointing... But anyway, as you might expect any romantic comedy, the movie was very predictable. It is yet another typical Romantic Comedy with characters whose love-life troubles are of the common variety. Every day stuff if you will. Although that is not necessarily bad. Besides, how creative can you get-- its a Romantic Comedy!!!... Cameron Diaz plays Amanda an overworked Movie trailer editor (and Company owner) and a domineering girlfriend who despite being heartbroken over her cheating boyfriend is incapable of crying. Her boyfriend played by Ed Burns proclaims (while being dumped by Amanda from her 2nd floor porch) that she is the only woman in the world who doesn't shed a single tear when breaking up with a boyfriend... I thought that was a funny scene. Naturally as a any romantic comedy should, the breakup scene felt more funny (or amusing) than devastating. They always seem to make it that way, don't they? (Yea typical). Kate's scene (i still can not name another movie she was in except Titanic) was not so pseudo heartbreaking. The day she felt she might finally see some kind of reprieve or hope in terms of a reunion with her Ex BF who'd dumped her a few years back is the day the ex bf decided to announce his engagement with his girlfriend, at their Company Christmas Party no less (ouch).

Unfortunately this is where the "Interesting" part of the movie ends and the start of the droning part... And let me share why i think this movie sucked at least in terms of ticket sales... Let me first say that the premise and the plot was excellent. The home exchange idea was clever and the Jack Black casting perhaps genius or maybe (if you think like me) a shrewd attempt to draw or at least make the movie more tolerable to the dudes who have to watch it with their girlfriends. Perhaps we have to be grateful for that... But for the record Jack Black did not make this movie any more tolerable-- or better for that matter... Anyway Amanda (Cameron) flies from L.A. to England and moves into Iris' (Kate) Cottage, where, she meets Graham (Iris' older brother) in the same evening when he came barging into the Cottage to crash after a night out of town (unbeknownst to him his younger sister's situation of course... Very serendipitous i thought). Everything about these two (Amanda and Graham) seemed academic from there on. Predictably, they sleep together, fall in love, and come to realization about how complicated a relationship they might possibly develop (all in one day). The Iris' plot on the other hand was far more complicated than Amanda's. She meets Miles much the same way Amanda met Graham only he has a girlfriend in tow (although similarly predictable... but again that is okay). They get together (naturally) after Miles discovers his girlfriend lied and cheated on him. Wow where did that come from? (lol) But this is okay because they live happily ever after i guess.

The movies' fault is that it doesn't relate to most of the movie-going public. First and foremost it's pretty hard to sell or try to conjure empathetic responses or reactions from the movie goers because Amanda and Iris are Successful and Priviledged... Most people with similar love-life issues wouldn't be able to just pack up and go somewhere far (like England) when faced with such a problem. Perhaps this would have worked better at least for me if Amanda was not so disgustingly rich and Graham was not such a playboy rolling in a Range Rover. Like i said the plot was clever and perhaps it was the real reason why i rented the movie but i just couldn't help but try to relate to the movie-- like how would i handle the same scenario if were to happen to me, and i just couldn't... I think i liked Iris and Miles story better because it was a little more believable. Iris' ex boyfriend was this devilishly charming and handsome successful man and although his replacement (Jack Black) was equally charming and successful at least he wasn't as devilishly handsome. Often a lot of movies feel like such an aesthetic getting-together of actors its disgusting...

That is why i think this movie was not a blockbuster hit. It just wasn't something the blue-collar movie going public see as tangible (I suppose this movie was an excellent one to a select few but i doubt it was intended for a 'Select Few')... When creating mainstream Romantic Comedies i think the Studios are either shooting to make a downright over-the-top hilarious flick like 'Something about Mary' or an absolute or potential Classic like 'Pretty in Pink' (I don't think Movie Studios strive to create mediocre movies). It sort of felt like a failed "Love Actually"... And when you talk about an all-star cast-- Cameron Diaz (20 Mil per), Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black you could almost say and maybe expect an instant success and there is NO doubt the movie studio made the movie not solely for the sake of making movies because that would be a myth, money is always the object.

If they had failed financially (or as Something about Mary or Pretty in Pink) at least you could say they have succeeded as a filler movie for the Holidays (released on Dec 8 2006). They invariably release feel-good movies during the holidays just like there is always horror flicks for Halloween and action flicks in the Summer, it's like a cinematic cycle. Unfortunately thats as far as its success goes... Some movies that aren't necessarily financial successes at least sell a tremendous amount of DVD's (Office Space for instance -- Thanks Melissa!!). 'The Holiday' failed at that too... You could probably find a few people who found the movie "Really Good" or "Cute" and possibly own the DVD (or plan to buy it) though which i can honestly say (i guess) is okay because even though the movie was only an aesthetic success it was at least amusing. I suppose if the movie needn't sell tickets or DVD's to recoup their expenses this movie would have been a success, at least in the entertainment sense... I'm not really sure what went wrong with this project but it sure was not a successful one. Whether it was the casting or the directing i couldn't really tell. Obviously i am no Ebert or Roeper...

In any case i really enjoyed watching the movie (strange i know-- after that diatribe). I laughed a lot and it even made me go "awwwww" a couple of times. I suppose it wasn't a complete and utter disappointment because it did keep me occupied on that Wednesday Night while i watched the Dodgers get pummeled by the Colorado Rockies and the Lakers play a meaningless game in Sacramento (they already secured a playoff spot-- so expectedly they won easily).


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