Mockumentary about Chauncey Ledbetter, an eccentric flamboyant male supermodel convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The filmmakers interview various people involved with him, the victim and the case to get to the truth.
Gwen grows up with her romantic mother constantly telling her the story of her courtship and marriage to her father. Nick grows up with an alcoholic father who can't hold a job and whose family, as a result, is forced to move all the time. The two are shaped by this - Gwen a romantic and Nick withdrawn, unsure of himself - as they watch the hugely popular sixties sitcom, "One Big Happy Family." Years later, it is the star of that show, now a child actor gone bad with a history of detox and people always saying, "I thought she was dead," Francesca Lanfield, who connects the two of them, after years of near-misses and almost encounters. Gwen is hired to ghost-write Francesca's autobiography, while Nick, becoming her lover, is the architect who is to design a building on Francesca's property. When Gwen decides to crusade to save Francesca's building, she writes letters to the newspaper which catches Nick's attention - and wins his heart. Written by
Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Take a Second Look At This Funny and Deeply Misunderstood Film
Sometimes a movie is too ironic and self-parodying for its own good. This brilliant and cleverly-conceived film, despite having been panned by critics and drubbed by fans, deserves a hard second look by those with sufficient vision to look beyond the apparent formula of the film to see the deft irony that lies (not very far) beneath the surface.
This film comes disguised as a romantic comedy. Indeed, it has all the fantasy elements of the genre: endlessly falling flower petals; attractive men and women initially at odds with one another; the protagonist's self-discovery; and (ultimately) a lush, romantic setting. It doesn't spoil the film one whit to say that it even has the traditional rom-com ending of "girl gets boy" -- in fact, isn't that de rigeur for a romantic comedy?
But beneath the trappings of the eternal quest for love lie uncomfortable truths that this movie keeps sprinkling among the rose petals for the viewer to confront: people betray one another's trust for casual or selfish motives; trusting one's heart to "love" leads as often to heartache as it does to fulfillment; what looks like love from one person's viewpoint is often something very different from the other side; being too needy for love stifles talent and ambition; and happy endings sometimes only appear that way.
Looked at as an ironic commentary on the imperfections and uncertainties of love and of the fantasy of "happily ever after," this film is nearly perfect. Looked at as a straightforward romantic comedy, it's awful. But there are dozens of clues in the skilled writing and direction that point to irony, rather than romance, as the powerful engine that pulls this movie. Indeed, the movie takes vicious swipes at romantic comedy staples throughout: the magical love story of the girl's parents, on which she was bottle-fed, turns out not to be quite what it seems; most other characters repeatedly fail in their love lives, or succeed only to suffer great loss as a result; and great-hearted social gestures are doomed to failure. Sometimes the irony is apparent in other ways, such as in the flower petals that fall too relentlessly and too often either to be ignored or to be accepted at face value.
The message of this film, ultimately, is quietly stark: everything is doomed to fade away, and we shall fade away, too, no matter whom we love or how deeply. Whether we will get scorched by that love before we shuffle off is an open question. This is not your standard romantic comedy message. Nor is this really a feel-good movie. But it is very funny in places, cleverly constructed, well acted, and comes with an important message about love and loss. It deserves a second chance.
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