Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rom-Com Letdown: Movie Reviews

As I’ve confessed before, I am a romantic comedy fan. I’m a sucker for the boy gets the girl/girl gets the boy stories. I don’t care how hackneyed the script, how obvious the plot, how cheesy the lines – I love ‘em. Usually. Out of the four movies reviewed here, two turned out to be exceptions which proved the rule.

I wonder what Jane Austen would think of the rom-com category she spawned when first Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy parried witty rejoinders? The two winners in our quartet both follow the formula of poor first impressions being corrected as the movie progresses. They also could very well represent a new category in the genre of “romantic comedy travelogues” as the scenery in both is a major character.

Coming to DVD on September 14, Letters to Juliet is a fun, albeit totally predictable rom-com set in Italy. The premise is rather completely summed up by the trailer. Neither the plot nor the characters are very well developed, but the ride is so much fun (and the scenery so beautiful) you really won’t mind. [Also, it has a line that rivals “No one puts Baby in a corner!” for cheesiest of all time.]

Our second winner is Leap Year. As soon as the two main characters meet, you know where this story is headed. Nevertheless, the charming Amy Adams and the gorgeous landscapes of Ireland make this movie delightful, even if entirely predictable.

As any rom-com fan knows, there always has to be the tension/breakup section where the love is tested. With the next two movies, it was definitely a case of love lost.

I want to like Gerard Butler. I really do. I loved him in Phantom of the Opera. He was utterly charming in P.S. I Love You. However, his last two rom-com choices have left me cold.

The Ugly Truth clearly wants to be an opposites attract movie reminiscent of the classic Doris Day-Rock Hudson films. It fails miserably. An Amazon reviewer sums it up: "...many people will be surprised (like I was) at the very high level of lewdness and vulgarity." We found it to be so coarse it wasn’t worth completing – back it went unfinished.

Less disheartening than The Ugly Truth, The Bounty Hunter nevertheless disappointed. [Disclaimer: I’m not a Jennifer Aniston fan.] One of the obvious problems with the movie is a complete lack of chemistry between the two lead actors. Add to that the very frequent use of the GD expletive and I’m ready to toss this DVD back in its container. We did, however, finish it. The language improved about two-thirds into the movie and at the end there was a sweetness (albeit too contrived in my opinion.) If you must rent this, make sure it’s from Red Box.

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