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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Extract

MV5BMTgzNzU3OTQ4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTY3MzA4Mg@@._V1_SX214_Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, JK Simmons

Joel (played by Bateman) is the owner of an extract factory, living moderately affluently with his wife Suzie (Wiig). The passion has gone out of his marriage, and he seeks advice from his bar tender friend Dean (a scraggly looking Affleck). This advice gets Joel into a messy business involving Suzie and a male prostitute.

Meanwhile, the factory has problems when a worker incurs a serious injury and threatens to sue the company. Cindy (Kunis), new employee and all-out scammer, is the instigator of the law suit, and the person who Joel seeks to spice up his life. When everything at home and at work is at boiling point, it’s up to him to take control and sort it all out.

This is a standard role for Bateman, but the first time I’ve seen Kunis as such a bad girl. Wiig doesn’t get much of a run which is a pity as she could have provided a lot more humour. Look out for a strange cameo by Gene Simmons.

This is quite a light, inoffensive film with a fairly solid plot, and a dash of humour. It’s not worthy of top billing, but it is worth a watch.

 

The Change-Up

Leslie Mann, Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds

Dave and Mitch are best friends. Dave is a career man, married with young children. Mitch is a would-be actor and lothario. On one fateful night they wish for each other’s lives while peeing in a fountain together. They wake up in each other’s bodies and have to lead each other’s lives. They are freaked out at first, but then settle into it, and get to know more intimate things about each other.

This is a common rom com theme – trading places. We’ve seen it before, but this film does quite a fresh job with it. There are a few cringe-worthy remarks about women, but generally there is quite a bit of light humour and laugh-out-loud moments. Worth a watch on Saturday night.

 

Juno

Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, JK Simmons

If you could go back to high school and be much cooler than what you were, you’d be Juno (played by Ellen Page). She gets pregnant by her friend Paulie Bleeker and tries to take care of everything herself. She’s incredibly immature and incredibly mature at the same time.

Juno decides to adopt the baby out to a middle class couple, Mark and Vanessa, played by Bateman and Garner. She has to learn very quickly about relationships, and about how to listen to her own heart.

This isn’t a typical boy meets girl rom com. Here are some young people dealing with growing up, being teenagers, and understanding boundaries.

The soundtrack is terrific (Kimya Dawson), low fi, just like the flick. This is a great film for young and old alike and has established itself as a cult classic.

The Switch

Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman

Jason, much like Jen, is one of my favourite actors.  I loved him in Hancock. He has matured so much since his eighties roles and developed a quirky, loveable, funny persona.

And this is exactly his character in The Switch, with a bit of neurosis thrown in. He plays Wally and is best friends with Kassie, played by Jen.  Kassie wants to have a baby and goes looking for a donor. As the name suggests, Wally switches the donor’s sperm with his own at the crucial time and nobody knows.

You’re not sure what will happen with the ‘boy meets girl’ scenario as there is a child and a sperm donor involved. So it’s kind of nice that this film is not as predictable as most romantic comedies.  But then again, it does end with a smooch, and the ol’ happy families.

I don’t know why, but I wasn’t convinced that I could watch this movie again. But on second viewing, I did like it much better than the first time.  Worth keeping in the  back catalogue for a rainy day.

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