What do you get when you take four A-List movie stars that in their own right have put out hit after hit after hit and put them in one movie…nothing. You get a tremendous dud. It’s a shame really because these are all great actors in their own right and it’s always fun to see them on the screen.
In this James L. Brooks directed commentary we center on four main characters. The first character is Lisa (Reese Witherspoon). Lisa is a US Olympic woman’s soccer player who is now 32 years old. She’s on the cuff as to whether or not the new coach is going to allow her to play again next year. She’s exactly .32 seconds slower than the previous year so of course a coach can’t put her back in (???) so she doesn’t make it and is off the team. She’s at a point in her life where she doesn’t know what to do. Unlike the other retired team mates she knows, she doesn’t really want to settle down and have a baby. She winds up meeting Matty (Owen Wilson). Matty is a professional pitcher in baseball and completely obsessed with himself. He’s a womanizer. He keeps women’s clothes in his massive closet so that they don’t have to walk out in the same clothes they did the last night. How sweet.
Our other group of characters is George (Paul Rudd). George, an executive at a company finds himself being investigated by the government. He’s clueless as to what’s happened and why but he knows that in these days, executives should know what’s going on so it’s not an excuse that he didn’t. Jail bound, he certainly seems. His father Charles (Jack Nicholson) is also the founder of the company. He’s kind of a shady guy. You’ll find out where that leads as you watch the movie.
So needless to say Lisa and George meet and George develops a crush on Lisa (currently in a relationship with Matty). Courtship begins and this is the focal point of the movie.
Sounds sweet right? Well, the movie does have a certain amount of heart to it. Brooks is trying here to get the audience to care for these characters. Rudd’s character is overly sappy and way to pathetic in my opinion. Girls just in real life do not go for a guy that’s overly romantic and sappy and pathetic. They usually want someone with some degree of confidence in himself.
The characters themselves are very flat. There seems to be no depth or backstory to any of them. We get a surface explanation of all of them but very little beyond that. James L. Brooks usually puts out better movies. He’s certainly had more hits than misses but here it just doesn’t have all the right material to put together a good movie.
There’s very little chemistry between the actors in the film. I just don’t buy why Witherspoon’s character would be interested in either Wilson’s or Rudd’s character. Nicholson is thrown in for a couple laughs but his acting talents aren’t used at all. It’s a shame really because there is a lot of talent on screen, but the script offers them absolutely nothing to work with. It almost feels a little bit adlibbed to me.
For all the directors and writers out there: When you are able to put together solid acting talent, please give them something to work with. Something that will bring out their talent, and something that will give your movie that sparkle on screen. Otherwise you get something like this film…you know?
FINAL GRADE: C –
TRR Movie Revue by Bill Ayres