Blended

MV5BNzc2ODI5NjAyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzIyOTE4MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler

Jim and Lauren are both single parents. They meet on a blind date, which turns out to be a disaster. But fate throws them together again, this time at a family holiday resort in Africa. They try to avoid each other and concentrate on spending quality time with their children. But they have more in common than they thought, and are drawn together.

Although this film is rated M, it seems like a G-rated family flick. And like most family movies: all information about the characters is laid out before you in the first 15 minutes; everything is bigger and brighter than in real life (where is this LA-style African holiday resort??); people are ridiculous; what happens to these people is ridiculous; and you know how it’s going to end all the way through – even the surprises are not surprises.

This is quite a good family movie with a couple of great one-liners. But all-in-all it lacks maturity and, in my opinion, is a very disappointing romantic comedy, especially considering that it features two of the best romantic comedy actors around.

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The Other Woman

MV5BMTc0ODE4ODY1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDA5NjkzMTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_Cameron Diaz, Lesley Mann, Kate Upton

Carly and Mark are in love – or so Carly thought. It turns out that Mark is actually married to Kate, AND has a third lover in the wings. When his infidelities are discovered, the three women team up to teach Mark a lesson, becoming firm friends in the process.

This is not a new theme for rom coms, and this 2014 version has been done very poorly. Diaz and Mann, both seasoned rom comers, should have demanded a more mature script. Instead, they have been plunged into a ridiculous and juvenile film where they seem quite out of place.

One film reviewer said that they couldn’t wait for the sequel. Sequel – what more is there to say? This is NOT the greatest chick flick of 2014. It is more like a parody of something we’ve all seen before.

I am very disappointed in this movie. The Other Woman is a simple and silly film which reminds me of 1980s Disney films, or kids’ TV shows where the baddy is made to look foolish in the end. In this movie, they all look foolish in the end!

 

The Longest Week

MV5BMTUwMjY2ODAzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODIyOTM1MjE@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman, Billy Crudup

Conrad Valmont (Bateman) is the son of the owners of the luxurious Valmont Hotel. He has lived a fairly loveless existence at the hotel since the age of 7 when his wealthy parents deserted him.

One day his freeloading, extravagant lifestyle is brought to an end when his absent parents play with the idea of divorce and cut off his money supply.

Conrad has to move in with his best friend, Dylan, and promptly falls in love with Dylan’s girlfriend, Beatrice. His simple life is now filled with lies, guilt and uncertainty. But the week that he has with Beatrice is the week he experiences a love he may not have had before, or may never have again.

The film styles itself around another world – a modern, yet old world with no mobile phones or computers, soft ageless jazz, pretensions to a sheik sixties… On the one hand – charming. On the other hand – try-hard hipster.

The Longest Week is an amusing film about love. I’ve read a film review in which it is criticised for having no story. There is a story – it’s just not a very complicated one and it only goes where it needs to go. Don’t get over-excited about this flick – it’s pretty cute, you’ll enjoy it if you appreciate the styling, and there’s nothing wrong with the acting, but it’s just not a great Bateman flick.

 

 

 

 

 

They Came Together

MV5BMTkzNzA2Nzc1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzcwNzk3MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd

New Yorkers, Molly and Joel, are out to dinner with friends. They spend the night explaining how they met – it started off badly before they fell in love.

Their story is a romantic comedy satire and they are rom com characateurs – she’s cute and klutzy and he’s handsome and ‘vaguely jewish’.

I hate this film for making fun of romantic comedies, because I love a good rom com. Good rom coms transgress the stereotypes, and it is possible to break the mould, to be clever and witty, and tell an interesting, romantic tale.

But, granted, a lot of rom coms are very predictable, and against my will, I did find a lot of this film funny as it plays out every single rom com cliche. I don’t think Amy Poehler is the best person for the role of Molly, but as she is an outstanding actor, she does what she can with the script.

This looks like it would have been a fun movie to make, it has lots of quirky guest appearances, but overall I think it fell a bit short.

Some-one Marry Barry

MV5BMTk1NjczNDg1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjI5NzQzMjE@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_AL_Lucy Punch, Tyler Labine, Damon Wayans Jr, Hayes MacArthur, Thomas Middleditch

Everyone has a ‘Barry’ amongst their group of friends – that person who is socially inappropriate and embarrassing. Des, Rafe and Kurt have a Barry in their gang, and his name is Barry Burke. When Barry’s inappropriate behaviour finally becomes intolerable, the friends organise something extreme to get him out of their lives. They want to get Barry married.

But when Barry meets Melanie Miller all by himself, he finds that she is his female equivalent. He may not need his friends’ help after all.

I rented this movie with trepidation, expecting the crude, rude, infantile and penis-centred approach to comedy that usually surrounds these rom coms that are loaded up with too many male protagonists. Too many dudes! Where are all the women?

Although it was definitely in there, the crude and rude were bearable. This, I put down, to Lucy Punch, who I think is fabulous. She’s a comedic gem of the rom com screen (see the Wedding Video (particularly the Wedding Video), You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, A Little Bit of Heaven). Punch seems to soften out the tasteless edges.

So, all in all this film is actually not too bad. The script, although light weight, is smooth and gets to where it’s supposed to be going. It’s quite funny, not overly clever, but generally entertaining. One of the better rom coms of 2014 (surprisingly).

Do the French do rom coms better?

MV5BMTQ3NzcxMjkyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjYzMDI1OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_Do English speaking viewers like French rom coms simply because they are French? To be French, European, cultured, ‘exotic’, to operate in a relationship in a slightly different way from those in England, Australia, USA – does that make French rom com ‘other’?

Or is it the actors and the acting – that slight difference in style?

I find there’s a certain maturity to French rom coms that may be lacking in English, US and Australian romantic comedy films.  A certain je ne sais quoi…

 

 

It Boy

MV5BMTQ3NzcxMjkyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjYzMDI1OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_Virginie Efira, Pierre Niney

Alice is a hard working Parisian fashion magazine editor. She’s nearly 40 and could potentially lose her job to a younger, more exciting woman. To her disbelief, Alice’s boss would rather her be offbeat and rebellious, than a tight-ass workaholic.

As she’s recently met a young student, Alice decides to use him to embrace her rebelliousness and change her image. Poor unknowing Balthazar thinks he’s on to a very good thing with a hot older woman taking an interest in him, until he finds out it’s all a sham.

The film lightly touches on the hypocrisy faced by older women who date younger men, by men their own age – this mainly comes from Balthazar’s renegade father.

This is a solid rom com with fine acting and a fluid script. I’m not sure whether I like all French rom coms simply because they’re French. It’s hard to tell whether the ‘exotic’ factor carries the plot. Efira is certainly all class, mesmerising, a pleasure to watch, and she dominates the film.

This is a simple movie with very few twists and turns, but is very enjoyable.

That Awkward Moment

MV5BMjExODEyMjMwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTAyODM1MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Imogen Poots, Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Mackenzie David, Jessica Lucas

Also called Are we Officially Dating?

Three best friends, Jason, Daniel and Mikey, make a pact to stay single and just have fun with women. They all agree to avoid serious relationships in order to support Mikey, whose wife has just left him for another man.

During their pact, both Jason and Daniel fall in love. And Mikey ends up sleeping with his wife in secret. Will they be able to resist the strength of their feelings in order to obey the rules of the pact? Or will love be the winner in the end?

Not only was this film an absolute den of testosterone, but it was also a den of stereotypes about women. Here is a platform for playing out every overblown difference, every fantastical dichotomy between men and women. What a pity the male characters were subsumed with asserting their masculinity.

There are some funny moments in this film, but possibly too many dick jokes for any intelligent person to be able to handle in one evening.

There is a gap in the market for a really good rom com with some kick-ass women, a smart comedic element, and a script that leads you somewhere new. So after waiting quite some time for a new rom com to hit the shelves, I was a bit disappointed in this one.

 

Le Weekend

MV5BMTk3NzAxNTExMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDM0NjYwMTE@._V1_SX214_AL_Lindsay Duncan, Jim Broadbent, Jeff Goldblum

English couple, Meg and Nick, go to Paris for a weekend to celebrate their 30 year wedding anniversary. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions from the minute they get there – they run so hot and cold… “You can’t not love and hate the same person, usually within the space of five minutes…” says Nick.

Meg and Nick seem to be at a crossroads in their relationship, in their lives. They alternate between domesticity and adventure, between love and hate, and Paris provides the backdrop for it all.

I did quite enjoy this film, even though it was filled more with self-reflectiveness than comedy. It was a film about love, and about how to love with success and happiness really. It is a film for the more mature viewer, and for when that viewer is in a mood for a good narrative.

 

 

 

 

 

Barefoot

MV5BMTg0NzIxOTgxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjA3NjY3MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Evan Rachel Wood, Scott Speedman

Jay is a bad boy – on probation and in a lot of debt. He has to find a suitable date to take to his brother’s wedding but he ends up taking a psychiatric patient he just met called Daisy.

In spite of her ‘condition’, Daisy’s naivety and delicate innocence touches both Jay and his family. He goes to the ends of the earth to protect her, and eventually to make her happy.

This film is more of a romance/drama than romance/comedy. However, it’s still worth adding to the rom com list as it meets many of the necessary criteria including boy meets girl and the dedication to creating a moving love story.

There is a restraint to these characters, who could have easily been overdone, and this restraint gives the film a certain touch of darkness, a touch of intimacy. The story line doesn’t sound overly original – yet this film does its own thing in its own way and ends up being terribly enjoyable.

This is definitely a film worth watching – take it out to dinner!