178 user 67 critic

A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

Ewan McGregor stars as a cleaning man in L.A. who takes his boss' daughter hostage after being fired and replaced by a robot. Two "angels" who are in charge of human relationships on earth,... See full summary »



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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Kanig ...
Mel Winkler ...
Frank Naville
Anne Cullimore Decker ...
Violet Eldred Gesteten
Elliot Zweikel
Tod Johnson


Ewan McGregor stars as a cleaning man in L.A. who takes his boss' daughter hostage after being fired and replaced by a robot. Two "angels" who are in charge of human relationships on earth, offer some unsolicited help to bring this unlikely couple together. Written by <CherylC894@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A twisted love story from the filmmakers of "Trainspotting". See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Une vie moins ordinaire  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,007,279 (USA) (24 October 1997)


$4,266,243 (USA) (21 November 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Gabriel's final lines he declares "Amaratus pathum laborium", which translates as: Love is a path of labors. See more »


When O'Relly is paying off the hiker/car-jacker, she says "Here's $40." She hands him six bills. The top three are 20s (one of which you can see the bottom of the bill if not its digit in the corner), the next is a 10, then a 5 and on the bottom another 10. $85 in total. See more »


[first lines]
Man: [v.o] So, here's the deal. We are in the garden, right? And everything is great. And there's this tree. And the man says, "Ooh, see that tree? "Don't eat the fruit of that tree. "That apple you do not eat." He goes inside, names some animals - maybe takes a dump. Anyway,what does she do? She eats the apple! I can't believe what I'm seeing! He says, "Don't eat it!" She eats it! Unbelievable! Since then, men,women... I don't know. It's all going wrong!
See more »

Crazy Credits

For the start of the credits, the top half of image contains a wide box (2.35:1?) which runs footage furthering the plotline. Note the film itself was in 1.85:1. See more »


References Shallow Grave (1994) See more »


It's War
Written by Peter Svensson (as Svensson), Nina Persson (as Persson)
Published by Songs of PolyGram International, Inc.
Performed by The Cardigans
Courtesy of Stockholm Records
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User Reviews

Ordinary and Lifeless
11 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the style of wacky runaway heiress or road buddies on the lam films a la Frank Capra, A Life Less Ordinary is a dark comedy that stretches the definition of funny. Director Danny Boyle's previous hits, e.g. Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, were morality tales with wit and style that defined the British cinema of the 90s. ALLO is not up to either wit or style in a rambling odd story of frustrated love. Ewan McGregor, an actor who is lively and dynamic in his two previous Boyle pictures never seems to find his character as Robert, a closet pulp fiction writer/janitor living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Robert's lack of Mr. Clean talent result in a ballistic impulse after he is fired and replaced by a bad R2D2 imitation robotic floor-sweeper. The target of his anger, the bratty daughter of the company owner.

Camerion Diaz as Celine is lovely in the role of a spoiled brat kidnapped by Robert, but the chemistry between the two actors never heats up the screen. Wacky heiress Celine can't sing or dance while the nebbish kidnapper sings and dances rings around her. Charming Robert can't threaten or write a convincing ransom letter, but Celine is such a harpy, her condesending and chrulishness towards Robert fail to exude any audience sympathy. Instead, it transfers to the overwhelmed kidnapper rather than the shrewish Celine.

Adding to the muddled storyline are two bumbling angels (Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo) whose divine task is to assure the mismatched pair fall in love. It is a subplot that distracts rather than adds to the story. If the plot sounded confused it is because Boyle never seemed to make up his mind what the kind of film he wanted to direct.

The stellar cast attempts to save their roles but are handicapped by a screenplay that never quite follows a recognizable genre. The American film debut of director Danny Boyle and producer Andrew MacDonald flounders under so many problems that ALLO is a comedy of errors, misdirection, and ambiguity that failed to entertain.

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