Buddy (Ben Affleck) is in advertising. You get the clue real quickly
that this wasn't exactly his childhood dream (he is that cliche of the
"wanted to be a writer" ad man) but he's good at it. He's a salesman.
He lives in LA - on the beach. He wears Armani. He drinks a lot.
He is stranded at O'Hare one night and in favor of bonking some traveling
fundraiser, he hands off his plane ticket to Greg, a man who is now
what Buddy possibly wanted to be, a writer (not exactly a screamingly
successful one but not one who sold out) with pictures of his wife and
kids in his pocket.
The plane goes down and Greg goes down with it. After this accident,
Buddy's guilt takes his borderline alcoholism to another level. He hits
bottom. After a stint in rehab, he comes out and faces a gay AA/NA assistant
(the hilarious Johnny Galecki) at work who gives him some tough love.
He checks out the twelve steps, one of which is going to those you hurt
and making amends.
then decides to semi-stalk Abbie (Gwyneth Paltrow), wife of Greg and
mother to Greg's children. He does her a good turn and thinks he can
then be done with it. But she is attracted to him and he's attracted
to her and with a little help from his AA/NA assistant, and a piece
of toilet paper, they strike up a relationship. He does not tell her,
however, who he is and why he came into her life. I guess if he did,
this movie would be kind of boring.
As it is, the movie is anything but boring. It is nicely paced and
has an unusual, well-told story. Strangely, since they were real-life
lovers, Gwyn and Ben have no chemistry. Even so, they are both likeable
and interesting, and you, as an audience member, want the best for them.
However, Ben, who is growing on me (I believe because he has a trainer
and his shoulders are getting broader - I cannot imagine why else this
would happen), is not a very good actor, or perhaps doesn't look like
one in the face of Gwyneth's effortless performance. He has a cute grin
and pulls off a difficult scene with more aplomb than the rest of his
performance would lead you to believe he has. This role may have required
too much from him emotionally. Maybe the Armageddon-type roles
are more his style
for Paltrow, she seems to inhabit Abbie in a way that makes you realize
that Oscar wasn't really thrown away when she got it wearing
that horrendous pink dress. She's an actress and her performance here
proves it. She is fantastic as a grieving widow trying to put her life
together. There is one caveat, and it is a big one - she didn't convince
me she was a Mom. Anything that had to do with motherhood seemed unfamiliar
to her and she was unconvincing in her portrayal of it. This seems like
it should be a bigger problem, but it wasn't, as this wasn't about her
as a mother but more as a romantic object of affection.
There were little touches that I appreciated. The quick character definitions
(Abbie's saving the prom date-esque girl from embarrassment by pulling
the toilet paper off her shoe - Buddy's quick and interesting conversation
with Janice, the flight attendant) were wonderful. I love it when a
writer (Don Roos, who also directs) can pull something off like that
- give you an indication of just what this person is like in ten seconds
or less - a look, a word, a conversation, an action, a glance and the
reaction from the people around them. Abbie is anything but glamorous,
but she isn't dowdy either. She also isn't a victim, from the minute
she finds out about her husband's death and throughout the movie. She
is brave, and her pursuit of Buddy is refreshing. She is easily a character
you can like and respect.
Overall, though, this movie is a hard sell. I recently broke up with
my fiancÚ and I still have his cat. I like that cat but every time I
look at her, she reminds me of him. It doesn't make me want to wring
her neck, but I don't exactly want her around either. I can imagine
that Buddy and Abbie have a much, much harder obstacle to face than
an ex-boyfriend's cat, and I just cannot believe that any kind of love
can overcome that.
And perhaps that is why this movie eventually fails for me. Ben Affleck
is a good-looking but ultimately unconvincing actor and regardless if
the script is well-written and Paltrow's performance well-executed,
it is just too sad to provide any fulfillment in the end. Everyone involved
in the picture tries so hard to make you believe that Abbie and Buddy
would be happy in the end...but you just know they can't be.
After Greg died, Abbie's mother told her to just "bounce." I don't
think this is what she meant.
Recipe for Fun: Charlie's
One 70s TV Show that was adored by boys and girls and men and perhaps
even some women, which has endured over the years to have a cult following
and to be so mired in 70s nostalgia as to be hilarious and touching
all at the same time. ("Oh, remember when Farrah...")
Two semi-popular-to-popular movie actresses.
One up-and-coming actress.
One proven comedic talent.
A pinch of John Forsythe's voice.
A whopping dose of a fucking great soundtrack
director with practically nothing but MTV on his resume.
A healthy dash of the Matrix mentality.
Massive amounts of cleavage.
Stir together and then liberally pepper with humor and tongue-in-cheekedness
Charlie's Angels was a blast - from the silly to not-so-silly
cars they drove to the silly to not-so-silly clothes they wore to the
silly to not-so-silly fights they fought. This movie doesn't take itself
seriously for an instant (except in keeping to the camp theme and using
kick-ass music as often as possible).
I was completely charmed by the whole thing and laughed my butt off.
I loved that the girls did most of their own stunts, and Bill Murray
I really hope this is some kind of franchise (I cannot believe I am
saying this) because I'd like to see how the Angels were chosen and
how Bosley fits in and I think they could take this a long way - my
sister believes it could be Bond-esque (not surprising as it stole many
Bond themes as well). Very fun.