Every so often, when we've seen every arty, independent, and/or foreign film in town--you know, the ones that confirm for us we are special and have good taste--and we see movies at the multiplex which is right around the corner from our house. That's right: we live near a movie theater that is so huge it lights up the freaking sky at night, if you look in the right direction. Said theater has stadium seating that, if you get to your showing early enough, allows you to stretch out and even put up your feet. At said theater, you not only have previews, you have commercials and the interminable First Bludgeoning feature, wherein they show you stuff about the upcoming horror film marathon that is summer, the new sitcom on ABC Family that is curiously--curiously!--like Friends
, and some other stuff. Said theater shows films that have been focus-grouped and audience-feedbacked to bits. This weekend, the multiplex made us happy with the film-products we viewed.
Exhibit A, Duplicity. I have been in conversations recently, with Dr. Write and another friend, in which they noted they didn't much care for Julia Roberts. Also, recently I read a review by a professional reviewer who noted the same. In my Personal Julia Roberts Filmography (PJRF), I have edited out certain films, certain awful films, because who really needs to remember them? And last night I saw a bit of My Best Friend's Wedding, which is, honestly, quite a bit worse than I remember. So what I'm saying is, I can see their point. And yet, I have never quite crossed that line, the line of not caring for JR, and so it was good to see her last night. She was good. And my friends, Clive Owen was excellent.
Here let me pause to point out that the analytic category we call "chemistry" is highly subjective. After viewing the film on Friday night, I checked out the Metacritic reviews
(average score, about 70), and the reviews ran the gamut, from A.O. Scott saying the chemistry between Roberts and Owen was terrific, to some grouch somewhere else saying there was absolutely no chemistry. In case you want my vote: chemistry was effervescent and delightful and very sexy.
We enjoyed Duplicity. It was directed by Tony Gilroy who directed Michael Clayton, which, in case anyone has forgotten, was one of my very favorite films of the last quite a bit of time. This isn't as good as that. But it had an absorbing, tricky-but-not-too-tricky plot, and it zipped along except when there were some small draggy parts. But mostly zipped. Sexy and tricky. Zippy!
Exhibit B, I Love You, Man. This is part of the variously-designated Apatow-esque series (though I believe Apatow had nothing directly to do with this film--he was merely its genial spirit, its motive force, its Prime Mover) of comedies that, if I am frank with you, the people--and what should I be if not frank?--I love. I love them because they are funny, and because "funny" is what you are looking for in a comedy. Funny, and genius, but if you can't have genius, you better have funny.
ILY,M is funny with a side of funny, and funny sauce to top it off. Paul Rudd? Funny. Jason Segel? Funny. Chemistry between the two of them? Forget about it. You may wish to save this movie for when it comes out on DVD. You may wish to save it for a dark, dark day, when you feel you have nothing left to live for. This movie will lead you out of this dark, dark place, with laughter your Beatrice, leading you from the stinking inferno that is regular life, to the Paradise that is a funny-ass comedy. You heard it here.