23 November 2010

Rom-Com Futures

This week on the CAB I talk about the likable Rachel McAdams picture Morning Glory, and wonder about the near future prospects for the the romantic comedy genre, which seem perpetually dim this century.

This looks like a no:

And really it's a no not just because of my irrational hatred for Anne Hathaway and rational dislike of Jake Gyllenhaal. The idea of two loveless misanthropes as attractive as Jake and Anne falling for each other is contrived even for this genre. I don't understand jheri curl Jack Black's joke about Jake being abducted by aliens and I get Anne's "it's really hard to believe" Viagra joke but it isn't funny. Bottom line: you'll go to this movie if you'll watch any rom-com or if you're tantalized enough by the chance that Ms. Hathaway will really be naked onscreen.

This looks like a maybe:

I won't lie--50% of my desire to see the film is Reese's off the shoulder, over the hand blue sweater outfit, which certainly can't be missed (the producers know this so that's why it's in the trailer nine separate times). But there's also Jack and Paul Rudd (whose "not from my perspective" line is probably the best offering). And James L. Brooks made As Good As It Gets, a title that places itself perfectly in the last 15 years of rom-coms. I credit the casting director for selecting Owen Wilson and Domenick Lombardozzi as Washington Nationals pitchers--I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see them come out of the bullpen for the Nats next year.

The problem is I don't have any must sees to post. Where's the great comedic director who includes less than 50% dick jokes? And where's my Philadelphia Story DVD?

11 November 2010

The Way We Live Now

This week on the CAB I discussed the relevant merits of Zacharius Galifianakis and his latest film Due Date. But the more interesting of his films this season is Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's It's Kind of a Funny Story.

Galifianakis does have to stretch a fair bit to inhabit Bobby, a depressed father trying to do for fellow psych ward patient Craig (a very Culkin-esque Keir Gilchrist) what he can't do for his daughter on the outside. I particularly liked the subplot in which Bobby is embarrassed to the point of rage that he doesn't have a proper shirt to wear to his group home interview.

In more important news, I have a new candidate for the coveted WTT #1 crush: Zoe Kravitz (it turns out 50% Lenny Kravitz and 50% Lisa Bonet is 100% good looking (and I checked--she's 22)). While Craig develops a more conventional relationship with Emma Roberts' Noelle and her well done facial scars, I thought his teenage obsession with Zoe Kravitz' Nia was much more realistic. Nia is dating Craig's best friend and his every interaction with them is a perfect iteration of a young man's ecstatic suffering. When Craig realizes his mental illness could be a lure for Nia their scenes are the most charged moments the film.

I wish Boden and Fleck had allowed themselves a little more wildness in It's Kind of a Funny Story--they are so careful to avoid offending any groups in the film that it lacks the bite that could have put it over the top (they also continue the trend of unnecessary animated sequences cluttering up recent films). I think back on Half Nelson and feel it was much riskier but perhaps I'm really remembering Ryan Gosling's still-rattling, once-in-a-decade performance (I'm pumped that he's finally back with Blue Valentine and All Good Things this winter). With Sugar and their latest film, the directors have shown themselves to be precise executors of compelling stories, if fundamentally conservative.