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A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 27,895 users   Metascore: 35/100
Reviews: 174 user | 60 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

A Life Less Ordinary (1997) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
O'Reilly
...
Jackson
...
Gabriel
...
...
Mayhew
...
Frank Kanig ...
Ted
Mel Winkler ...
Frank Naville
Anne Cullimore Decker ...
Violet Eldred Gesteten
...
Elliot Zweikel
K.K. Dodds ...
Lily
...
Al
...
Naville
...
Walt
...
Tod Johnson
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Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

novel | robot | janitor | angel | ransom | See All (114) »

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Une vie moins ordinaire  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,200,000 (Non-US) (31 October 1997)

Gross:

DEM 1,682,281 (Germany) (30 January 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian Holm and Maury Chaykin also co-starred in The Sweet Hereafter (1997), in both movies they had only one scene together. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Robert desperately searches the cabin for the ransom cash to hold off his own execution]
Naville: We're just gonna have to face the truth, Robert, you don't have my money! And frankly, I don't care. It's just a detail.
[as Mayhew drags an axe across the floor]
Naville: As long as you understand, that it isn't the money, it's the principle.
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 »

Connections

References The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

ALWAYS ON MY MIND
Written by John Christoper, Francis Zambon (as Mark James) and Wayne Carson Thompson (as Wayne Thompson)
Published by Screen-Gems-EMI Music Ltd.
Performed by Elvis Presley
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

Too messy to be enjoyable
7 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With divorce rates increasing, two angels are sent on a mission to bring men and women together as they should be - or not bother coming back to heaven. Their mission is a young man, Robert, who has been replaced as a cleaner by a robot and the spoilt daughter of his boss, Celine. The two meet as Robert bursts into his boss's office to demand his job back and accidentally ends up kidnapping Celine. As they go on the run they gradually grow to hate each other less.

Following up Trainspotting was never going to be an easy task - but at least they could have at least got near the quality of that film! In what feels like it wanted to be deliberately quirky, the plot involves angels controlling fate to bring two young people together in love. If it developed this idea in a structured and enjoyable manner then everything would have been fine, however as it is it is all over the place and doesn't really make much in the way of sense. Instead it feels more like a wildly out of control collection of stylish ideas.

In terms of narrative it barely hangs together and it creates a problem when it requires us to care for the characters and be part of their romance (as in, care about it). It is very appropriate that the end credits features a cartoon of sorts for that is fitting for the level of development that is in the central tale. The action is silly but not to the point where it gains the imaginative quirkiness of, say, the Coen brothers. Instead it is hard to penetrate the film and get involved with it, the action is daft and illogical, the laughs are rare and the characters are more like cartoon characters than people. It could have worked - but it doesn't.

The cast is good on paper, but the lack of material lets them down. McGregor came to fame through Boyle, but he gets done no favours here; he does stand out as someone who tries hard to make the material work, but he can't manage it. Diaz is good as well but again it's the material given to her that is the problem. The support cast is better simply because their lack of character and development isn't a problem; Lindo is good even if Hunter doesn't really fit in; although Holm and Hedaya have OK little cameos.

Overall this has energy but it doesn't really hang together in a way that works. It has touches of imagination and style but mostly it drowns in a sea of quirkiness lacking substance. It's a shame that such a talented cast and crew didn't have something better to work with - quirkiness for quirkiness' sake is not enough here.


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