You know why people hate movie critics? They often pan blockbusters while recommending garbage like this. Now don’t get me wrong. Many of the blockbusters are horrible, but ya know what? So are many of the quirky indie films.
There are filmmakers like Miranda July who I enjoy. There are quirky indie stars I enjoy (Greta Gerwig seems to be in the most films these days).
Former Solana Beach resident Michelle Williams seems to enjoy playing the indie character of a neurotic, sad woman that will soon be divorcing her husband (that includes playing Marilyn Monroe last year). She deserved the Oscar nomination for that and the dark but terrific Blue Valentine.
In this, she deserves to be hit over the head with an Oscar.
And hit writer/director Sarah Polley twice as hard.
She was a child actor in Canada (I enjoyed her in Go). Her directorial debut was Away From Her, which dealt with Alzheimers. This movie deals with perhaps the most common movie theme – the love triangle.
Williams meets Luke Kirby in a cute way. She’s a reporter writing a tour guide for a place that does historic reenactments. She is called upon to whip a prisoner and is visibly uncomfortable with the task. As she tries not to hurt the guy, Kirby heckles out “Put your back into it!”
When they just so happen to be sitting next to each other on the plane (not the only coincidence as they both happen to be going back to the same street as they live across from each other)…we wonder why Kirby is even interested. She goes on and on about her fear of being lost in airports. There comes a point early into her talking where I would’ve considered grabbing a parachute and jumping out. And it’s one of those rare movies where I found myself writing better dialogue and scenarios.
Since Williams used a wheelchair to get onto the plane, I wondered why Polley wrote such an uninteresting reason as to why she did that.
Kirby asks her “What kind of a woman orders milk on an airplane”
We soon realize what kind. The kind that is going to give us the cliché milk take, spitting it all over herself when he says something shocking.
Seth Rogen plays a successful writer of cookbooks, who is unfortunately married to this hot mess.
I wondered at first if because she was an unsuccessful writer, that was part of their problem. I was wondering also, if they had just fallen out of love. Yet they seemed very happy together and engaged in lots of playfulness. One of their inside jokes is talking about the horrific things they’d like to do to one another.
“I’d love to skin you with a potato peeler.”
“Well, I’d like to gouge your eyeballs out with a mellon baller.”
I wanted to do that many times to my own eyes through out this movie.
Out of the romance bag of clichés, they grabbed the scenes at a carnival. They also grabbed the one that has a good looking man who is an amazing artist, yet hasn’t sold or even shown anybody his work – aside from the woman he pines for. I was left wondering how he pays for that nice loft on a rickshaw drivers salary.
Since the film doesn’t show us any problems in their marriage (aside from the fact that they fight over foreplay that involves baby talk)…and we see Williams as an immature idiot…it’s hard to be sympathetic to her.
Now, you can certainly have a protagonist that we dislike, but then you need to write interesting material for them. Material that doesn’t include her and her future lover talking about what they’d like to do to each other in the future. That could easily pass as the most unromantic thing I’ve heard in a movie since the mountain men were making demands in Deliverance.
There’s one scene that’s especially odd. It’s a close-up of their mouths, talking directly into each others eyeballs in the morning.
This movie might also have the distinction of being the firm film I’ve ever seen that had a party scene with various conversations going on, and not one of them was interesting. Sarah Silverman, one of the best comedians around, sits there punching Seth Rogen in the arm. It’s not until she later sits on the porch and discusses her struggles with alcohol that it even gets remotely interesting.
There was a slightly amusing scene at a water aerobics class, with that cliché gay trainer trying to get everyone to work harder. It had a few laughs, but even that was ruined when we see all the women in the showers afterwards. It didn’t bother me that they weren’t like the hotties in Porky’s – it’s because the scene adds nothing. It’s almost like it’s there just to shock us, or perhaps show us that women come in all different shapes and sizes (and I’m guessing in real life, they’d be a bit more self-conscious than they were in the movie). If they put the shower scene in there for a cheap laugh – shame on them.
At least it did provide a great topic among my friends later. A woman that worked on films told us about a scene where they used merkins. This woman insisted big names like Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman wouldn’t do a full-frontal nude scene (both have done topless scenes before). I suppose I’ll Google that later (it might be worth it for the pictures alone).
As I sit here writing this, I think of more and more scenes I hated -- One in a cab with the couple blowing a necklace back and forth. Another with Rogen splashing cold water on Williams in the shower, and her being too dense to figure out what’s happening.
I could go on and on, but let’s just hope your dance card is full and you don’t have time for this waltz (unless your idea of a good time is a three minute shower scene (with possible merkins).
As I said to my group as we were leaving when it had 15 minutes left: Take this waltz and shove it! I ain’t watching anymore!
It gets ½ of a star.