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STUDIO IFC Films
RUNNING TIME 105 Minutes
• Behind the Scenes
The foundation of any good relationship is built on lies and false interests.
Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Keir O’Donnell, Sienna Miller, Peter Dinklage, Sam Rockwell, Brendan Fraser, Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsly
A young writer tries to impress a girl he meets online with an embellished profile, but he finds himself in a real mess when she falls for him and he has to keep up the act.
Basing popular culture around technology trends is a dangerous game. What seems fresh and new now will seem hopelessly out-of-touch in just a few short years; just look at You’ve Got Mail, Hackers, Ghost in the Machine. This one was destined to be out-of-touch before it entered post-production.
A Case of You is a movie about Facebook stalking; sort of like Catfish in reverse. (Sorry for the spoiler but I just saved you an hour and a half, use it for sex!) Justin Long plays Sam, a writer stuck doing movie novelizations who’s pining for the hipster holy grail: the cute quirky coffee shop girl, Birdie. Through determination he forces a meet-cute on her but she gets fired and he has no way to find her. A co-worker gives Sam her full name so he can find her on Facebook, but he has no idea what to do since they just had a fairly awkward conversation one time. Sam’s roommate Eliot points out that everything he needs to know about her is on her page and there’s enough information there to become the man of her dreams. Sam is awful, so he takes this advice literally and the crazy train pulls away from the station.
Sam makes a token attempt to learn how to play guitar, do Judo, and cook fancy “who the hell do you think you are” food. He reads all the pretentious books she claims to like (Leaves of Grass, Origin of the Species), drinks the pretentious liquor she claims to like, listens to the pretentious music she likes, etc. He forces a second meet-cute even more desperate than the first and manages to end up in a relationship so cringe-worthy that I half expected this to be a stealth remake of Audition.
Eventually the movie pulls back to show what a wang Sam is being. He’s writing the events that are happening and sending them to his publisher, who is loving them. In a scene toward the end he sits down for a pitch meeting with Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsly and they both, not realizing that the main character is actually him, tear him down as the pathetic asshole he is.
To Sam’s credit, he does start blending himself into his assumed persona right off and his put-on is really just himself with a few superficial interests, so this isn’t as bad as it could be. Unfortunately he acts like a complete tool and eventually gets mad at Birdie even though he’s the liar, so he’s still a piece of shit even if the movie tries to make that okay by acknowledging it.
Evan Rachel Wood plays the same goofy deeply shallow indie-chic creature that these movies all use. She’s the dream woman of college freshmen everywhere and a hot mess to everyone else. If Sam weren’t such a massive jagoff he’d probably be too good for her, but he isn’t so it’s a match made in heaven.
Brendan Fraser has a forgettable turn as Birdie’s Bohemian cool-guy ex. He’s little more than a glorified cameo but the people at IFC felt he belongs on the cover, perhaps to show us that he’s slowly transforming into Donal Logue.
Sam Rockwell plays Sam’s guitar intructor who brags about his rock-star days as a backup to the backup guitarist for the Spin Doctors at Woodstock 1999. Rockwell’s scenes are absolutely hilarious and better than this movie deserves, I am looking for excuses to slip “Are you F-ing Fucking with me?” and “Enough K to date rape a horse” into my daily vernacular.
Peter Dinklage is absolutely wasted as Stefan from Saturday Night Live. He’s not literally playing the character, his name is Gerard and he’s a barista but the mannerisms, the hair, the eyeliner, the voice, it’s all Stefan.
My main issue with A Case of You is that I don’t know who it’s for. At times it comes across as a send-up of insipid romantic comedies but at others it is the very definition of “insipid romantic comedy.” It’s bitingly satirical but so sincerely twee that I have no idea what tone it’s aiming for.
I don’t see the chick flick crowd digging jokes about Eric only masturbating to current pictures of celebrity crushes he had as a child (Linda Carter, Carrie Fisher, Kathleen Turner, etc.) or Vince Vaughn describing his wife and her friends’ adoration of Sam’s novel as “cunt bumping.”
At the same time I can’t see anyone other than the chick flick crowd putting up with the saccharine emotional beats and pandering messages. The public at large barely puts up with Garden State and that’s a Woody Allen movie compared to this.
That is not to say that A Case of You is entirely without merit. There are a fair amount of great jokes that brought genuine laughter from me but they exist almost in a separate universe from Sam and Birdie’s cutesy bullshit. And there’s some great camera work, one particular scene follows the couple through a prop store in one long and continuous shot, but it isn’t enough.
The simple fact is that anything that’s good in this movie feels like it was wasted on this movie. The cast is a laundry list of talent that mostly goes to waste and the fact that it’s not irredeemably bad just makes it that much more depressing. A Case of You is a watchable movie at best and that’s the nicest thing I have to say about it.
There’s a short behind the scenes featurette with the actors interspersed with shots from the trailer. There is also a trailer. Neither add anything worthwhile to the product.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars