BUY FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Entertainment One
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
- Cast and Crew Interviews
- Behind the Scenes Footage
- At some point, the film ends
A man has to win his wife back with the help of his son
Writer/Director Barra Grant
Actors Richard E. Grant, Carrie-Anne Moss, Johnny Pacar, Jenna Elfman, Janeane Garofalo, Camryn Manheim
Ben Bingham (Richard E. Grant) goes through something of a midlife crisis after his wife decides to leave him. He’ll need to find out how to date again with the help of his son, Justin (Johnny Pacar), who helps give him a makeover so that more women might find him attractive.
I wanna start this review by saying I hate romantic comedies. If i’m at the movies, and even ONE of the trailers has a narrator that says something along the lines of “Sometimes finding yourself means finding someone else” or some such drivel, i’m instantly annoyed. I just see right through them–all it takes is a 2 and a half minute trailer for me to visualize the ending of that film. They get together, fall in love, blah blah blah. I’m not some cynical, loveless asshole, I promise, and i’ve been with someone for the past 6 years and I love her. I’m just tired of being beaten over the head with plotlines that were exhausted in the ’80s and ’90s. I hate them, as the situations in them aren’t real and have no bearing on what life or love are really like. I hate to be so closed-minded, I really do. I try to approach every film experience with an open mind and realize that someone, somewhere, labored over something that maybe came from their own experiences. But I hate the flimsy, anything-but-real worlds that romantic comedies inhabit. Not all are like that, sure. You could very much label Groundhog Day as a romantic comedy, even though I think it belittles the film. But the overused “boy meets girl, girl is in love with another guy, boy and girl have to fall in love despite social or professional obstacles” makes me cringe. Every. Single. Time. That being said, this isn’t really one of those romantic comedies. And by the end of things, I was wishing for one.
Our main character, Ben, is a doctor and is oblivious to the fact that his wife is unhappy. Within 7 minutes of the film beginning she has left him, sending him into fits of panic as he breathes into a paper bag. He then travels to her friend’s house, where she is staying, but what greets him there is totally ridiculous. When he arrives her friend sprays him in the face with some sort of bug spray or cleaner. Let’s not forget the fact that he hasn’t cheated on her or anything along those lines; she simply grew tired of him and their marriage and decided to leave. Nothing that two individuals couldn’t be civil about. I can’t get behind a film that tries so hard to be outrageous and hilarious that it steps outside any boundaries of reality. When characters act this irrational based on the viewer having seen very little already (again, we are only about 10 minutes into the film) it’s hard to make a case for this kind of thing in the film. One particularly annoying and cringe-worthy scene happens soon after Amanda leaves him. He’s laying in bed wearing her scarfs drinking alcohol and singing to “Heaven is a Place On Earth”. It’s supposed to be the song that they “fell in love to” but he doesn’t even know the words. Really?
The rest of the film is about his attempt to get out and date again and try to win Amanda back, but his son has to help him along the way. Just by taking Ben to a hair stylist for a new hairdo, he is instantly the most sought-after man in town, garnering looks from mostly every woman he sees. Not only is Ben having trouble with love, but Justin has fallen in love with a Russian ballerina that he locked eyes with while out to dinner with his friends. His obsession for her occupies the second half of the film, acting parallel to Ben’s courting of various other women, including Hannah (Janeane Garofalo) and Darlene (Jenna Elfman). He attempts to date each of them, Darlene showing up at his house with a bunch of sushi and a really terrible CD that they dance in the kitchen to while eating sushi and drinking sake, and celebrating a Jewish ceremony with Hannah. Or something.
Probably the very worst parts of the film involve Justin’s friends, who at some point Ben begins hanging out with regularly, with or without Justin. They say things like “dude!” and “chill!” and everything else the kids these days are saying, and then of course Ben starts saying those things. As is revealed in the cast and crew interviews, the younger actors had to help her with the slang that today’s youth might be using. So there are a ton of instances where slang is used to annoying ends. Nothing like being on the cutting edge of what the kids today are saying! He goes bowling with them at one point and one of them has made homemade fudge that has pot in it, but of course Ben doesn’t know this and starts acting crazy after eating some, throwing his ball into other lanes and acting like a lunatic. How many times has this been done before? Probably thousands, and it’s just stupid at this point.
The film is just a mess, filled with unrealistic sequences and typical, cliched characters. We try to care about the characters but they’re as thin as wax paper and have been done (and better) a million times before. It’s ashame because Richard E. Grant isn’t a terrible actor and he’s really trying hard but it’s a wretched script, something that sounds like it was churned out in a weekend. Barra Grant is a terrible writer if this is the best she could do. The presence of other decent actors (Moss, Elfman, Manheim) doesn’t do much to help things. Altogether this feels like a waste of time and in more capable hands might have been a decent story but it has nothing of value.
I’d probably watch The Wedding Planner 18 times in a row before watching this film again.
Other than a trailer, there are cast and crew interviews and some behind the scenes footage. The interviews are hilarious because the questions being asked are shown to us on our screen before the actor answers them. And the best part is how some of the actors forget other characters’ names.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars