The oft-told love tale – at least since Woody Allen came on the scene – of the geeky guy and the gorgeous girl, this time set, amusingly, in an amusement park run by Bill Hader and a bunch of slacker employees. Kristen Stewart should get Oscar consideration for her portrayal of the heartthrob, perfect on the outside, troubled and insecure on the inside – except they don’t consider these kinds of films for Oscars. Ryan Reynolds and Jesse Eisenberg are just as good as the men in her life. And there’s great rock music on the soundtrack. Is that why, one wonders, this timeless story is set in 1987? Maybe it provides an overglow of nostalgia, through which we recognize the sincerity and authenticity of the film.
I was glad to read in reviews that the final plot twist made no sense, because that saved the many hours I could have spent trying to reconcile the ending with the action that preceded it. As it was, I attributed my confusion to the compression required in turning a 6-part BBC series into a 2-hour US flick. Plot aside, what we had was a slew of characters, some – Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams – intriguing, others – Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren – not. The newspaper-room setting was sadly elegiac in its echoes of All the President’s Men and other forebears: is this the last movie in which we will see a rumpled criminal reporter taking notes by hand, and a managing editor holding the presses for a scoop?
Unfortunate title, since the characters are so reminiscent of the superior Little Miss Sunshine. Still, there was a good indie-feel, despite big-name actors, and the whole ride was more fun than I usually have with a bunch of losers, however lovable.
Watchability 5. Likeability 4. Credibility 0. Even as a total fantasy, this star vehicle for Julia Roberts and Clive Owen left much to be desired. As a guessing game – when were there reactions real, when were they acting? – it wasn’t worth the effort. If you’re going to make a spy movie, bring back the Cold War at least, please.
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