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The Way Way Back

MV5BNTU5ODk5NDg0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQwMjI1OQ@@._V1_SX214_Liam James, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry

Young Duncan is on holidays with his mother, his mother’s boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s teenage daughter. But he’s not happy – he’s 14, awkward, unsure about his mother’s relationship, and a bit lost overall.

He meets Owen, played by Rockwell, at the local water park. Owen gives Duncan a summer job, recognising a kid who needs to come out of his shell. He teaches Duncan that life isn’t always what you want it to be, you have to make your own happiness. The friendship they form is exactly what Duncan desperately needs.

This is a terrific coming of age film, and a film about all sorts of relationships. Maya Rudolph is a lovely actor, and she and Allison Janney provide a lot of the humour along with Rockwell.

The Way Way Back is definitely a film worth watching more than once. It rolls along at a great pace, has a range of interesting characters, makes you laugh, and makes you want to see what happens after it’s finished. Make sure you put it on your list.

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Identity Thief

MV5BMTY3NzM5MTk2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ4MjQ3OA@@._V1_SX214_Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Amanda Peet

…not technically a rom com, but pretty close

Sandy Patterson is a very straight-laced family man who has his identify stolen by an outrageous and flamboyant woman. She’s a very good thief and is busy spending his money while Sandy worries about his job and his expanding family. When the police can do nothing to catch her, Sandy goes after her himself. The chase is more than he expected, involving bounty hunters and hit men.

Not sure what happened to this potentially exceptional film – but it didn’t come together as it should have. I found the first half a tad laborious. But when Bateman and McCarthy started working together there was a lot more humour and I enjoyed the second half a lot better than the first – it was like they were in a bromance.

No doubt that both Bateman and McCarthy are great actors and have done some terrific work with rom coms, but this one didn’t come up trumps. However, it’s not a total failure and still worth a watch.

A Lot Like Love

MV5BMTQyMjU1MTYxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI2MjgyMQ@@._V1_SX214_Amanda Peet, Ashton Kutcher

Oliver meets Emily en route to New York after she breaks up with her boyfriend and they have a fling. Three years later, back in LA, another break up, and her and Oliver get together again. Two years on, he has the breakup and goes running to Emily (…and so on!). Sometimes they are living in different cities, sometime when they try and get together, one of them is in a relationship. The timing is bad for Oliver and Emily, but they know that there is something there, something worth pursuing. Nine years on, Emily is engaged. Have they left it too late?

There’s something I don’t like about Amanda Peet, no hair style seems to suit her, and she is no match for Ashton Kutcher. She seems wrong for the part and I haven’t seen her in anything rom commy post this flick except for Something’s Gotta Give.

Apart from this issue with Peet, the flick is not much chop. Kutcher plays much better roles later on in his rom com career with Valentine’s Day, What Happens in Vegas, Killers and particularly No Strings Attached. This one would only be worth watching if you’re a huge Kutcher fan.

 

Something’s Gotta Give

MV5BMTQ0NTExMjk2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTQ0NTUyMQ@@._V1_SX214_Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, Amanda Peet

Henry (Nicholson) is an expert on dating young women – he’s 63, successful, wealthy, never married and still desirable. That is, until he has a heart attack and he has to realise his limitations. His girlfriend’s mother (Keaton) reluctantly has to take care of him. Although Erica initially despises Henry, they find they have a lot in common, particularly as they are of the same age, and eventually fall in love.

Erica is a famous playwright and attracks the attention of Henry’s young doctor (Reeves).  She knows she has feelings for Henry, but is flattered by the young Julian’s adoration. Besides which, Henry doesn’t know how to react to love, he’s confused, eventually breaking Erica’s heart.

I love this film and its plethora of happy dinners. I saw it years ago and didn’t have the same reaction. Now that I’m older I appreciate a film where older people find love and romance – and eat! The acting is terrific from everyone involved, especially Keaton. This film was very well received in 2006 and manages to maintain this status.