I can just see the clichés the critics will be writing about this.
“It’s not the typical rom com.”
“The perfect date movie!”
Oh, puh-lease! This is an okay movie. I think you’ll either love or hate. I was lukewarm towards it.
The story involves a young couple coming to the end of their marriage. Yet their friends are all confused by the fact that they’re still best friends. In fact, they still live together (sort of).
My first set of problems with this movie involves the couple they’re having dinner with. They’re engaged, and as the divorcing couple looks at a menu, they playfully talk about what they’ll order with goofy German accents. The other couple gets so mad, exclaiming how bizarre their friendship is. They get so mad they storm out of the restaurant.
Really? That’s the reaction your best friends would have to an amicable break-up?
The second set of problems I had with this involved dialogue that could’ve been clever, if it wasn’t already done better in other movies. I’ll give you two examples of this.
When Rashida Jones (who is a great leading lady) finally meets a guy she can go on a date with (a photographer whose work she admires), he ends the evening with a make-out session that was done a lot funnier in an episode of Seinfeld, the episode where Elaine has a perfect date until he “takes it out.”
Of course this is R rated, so it goes a bit further.
Another example of a scene done funnier previously…involves Elijah Wood as her gay boss at the magazine they work for. He is trying to tell Jones to go out and date more. He yells, “It’s time to get your f*** on!”
He quickly apologizes, telling her he was just trying to be her saucy gay friend. I thought of how much funnier it was when Alan Arkin had a similar scene in So I Married an Ax Murderer.
When Wood says other crazy gay things, it became increasingly unfunny…and copied similar characters we’ve seen before.
Now, let’s get to my complaint with the couple. I remember so many were upset when Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson were a couple in As Good as it Gets. They said that no woman would go for a man that much older (which was odd, considering the fact that at the time Nicholson was seeing someone younger in real life).
Yet I’m wondering…why no critics are questioning why Rashida Jones…the beautiful daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton…would be with a goofy looking guy that has a nose the size of a Buick. And Nicholson was a rich author in that other film. In this, Samberg isn’t writing those great songs we loved on Saturday Night Live. He’s just sitting around smoking pot, watching old Olympics footage, and not working; even when Jones gives him a job doing art work for her company, he can’t rally to get that done in time.
Let me complain about one other bizarrely written trait, since Jones is receiving all this praise for writing the screenplay (with Will McCormack, who had a fun role as the pot dealer).
How is it she can write some cliché scene where she can peg a guy that asks her out after yoga, simply by staring at his business card? Yet she can’t look in the mirror and discover all her own flaws. And one of my movie pet peeves about relationships that go south is when a character we’re supposed to like lets it effect their work.
One of the few things I disliked about (500) Days of Summer, was whenJoseph Gordon-Levitt has a breakdown during a meeting at work. Jones also lets her relationship stress mess up things at the work place.
Some of the supporting roles are good. Chris Messina (Ruby Sparks) shows up as a suitor; Emma Roberts plays a teen pop star with no talent. She has a great line about artist Keith Haring, showing she’s a bit hipper and more intelligent than Jones gave her credit for.
I thought the codependency this couple had on each other wasn’t romantic, but…kind of pathetic.
This film is appealing to the hipsters, much like Juno was. And just like Juno, I have to give it a few stars, because it was interesting enough and had some clever stuff.
I read two other critics reviews of this movie.
Scott Marks of the San Diego Reader called it “Annie Hell.” A great line I wish I would’ve come up with.
Roger Ebert loved the movie, but I have to comment on his comment about how Jones is going to have to do more writing because their aren’t enough good roles for women. Well, perhaps Jones should have written female characters that entire lives didn’t depend on the men in their lives. Every single woman in this movie was defined solely on the relationships with the men they were involved (or recently broken up) with.
I’m giving this 2 stars out of 5, and that’s generous.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun