Maybe I should have waited for a time when I am more awake to write about this one, but I’ve got another fourteen movies to review before I catch up so I better get a move on. I quite enjoyed this movie the first time around - I liked Eli Wallach, there were minimal references to other movies in the dialogue, Jude Law is always fine, Zimmer’s score for it was enjoyable. It was fluff, but enjoyable enough. Not so much this time.
I’ll admit I didn’t make it all the way through, because if I have to choose between this tripe and an Arnie movie, the latter will always win. I felt quite angry (and then amused by my anger) after seeing this again, but now I just feel a little exhausted - I’m just disappointed. The movie is effectively a series of excruciatingly dull moments between bizarrely empty two-dimensional characters held together by a dim-witted insincere sincerity. The movies I hate the most are the ones in which I feel are made with cynicism, and are insulting to my rights as a member of the cinema audience; luckily this isn’t one of those. Instead, it’s the kind where it’s my emotional needs that are being neglected.
People complain about certain films emotionally manipulating them (a recent recipient of this criticism was Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse, as has much of his work), which is frankly ridiculous - it’s one of the key roles of cinema. This film feels like it’s barely trying, doing the minimal amount, using cliches and plot devices from other stories without any of the content that makes it feel real or interesting in any way. It’s the screenwriting equivalent of Sam Worthington - yes it has some of the features of what it sets out to be, but is it human? Is there any kind of personality present? I mean, it is a film that Mark Kermode described as ‘probably a threat to your bodily health’.
I began tweeting as I watched it, before I realised that I was live tweeting a seven-year-old movie about a dystopia where rich white people drink wine and talk about the worst kind of nothing (oh wait). Some of the things I noticed as I watched was that the characters were unrelatable to the point of frustration, especially Cameron Diaz’ irritaing character as a neurotic pretty person who does nothing and just wants true love and she’s pretty. Kate Winslet is adequate, if slightly annoying, and she’s English so of course she says ‘bollocks’ several times in the most excruciating way. Jude Law stars as someone whose characterisation goes no further than ‘good-looking dad with English accent’, whilst Jack Black stars as Jack Black on prozac.