Kissing a Fool (1998)
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Yet in the first five minutes Linda the publisher tells us, not once, but twice that she introduced the bride and groom. We cut to a flashback of her introducing the two of them to each other, just in case we still don't get it. Then within another five minutes Jay the writer (Lee) is introducing Sam, his editor (Avital) to Max the sports caster and general foul-mouthed ignoramus (Schwimmer). IF the publisher is telling us the truth, doesn't this just kinda rule Max out of the contest for the first person to kiss the bride? Or have I missed something here?
This film is about as predictable as trying to guess which kind of white meat will feature most often on Thanksgiving dinner tables this year. I'll tell you; it will be turkey. And this movie sure is one.
But it is not just the plot and direction that are hugely lacking. Schwimmer is totally unbelievable and badly miscast as Max. His mouth moves, the words come out, but they lack any conviction whatsoever. The character of Jay the writer is such a whiney loser (with possibly the worst hairstyle in recent movie history) that I began to dread every screen appearance he made. He seemed to communicate in a series of whinging questions: "What are you doing here?" "So what??" "And??" I have absolutely no idea why the two of them were friends; they had nothing in common and were always bitching at each other. The script was very weak in places: Jay's explanation of why he had introduced Max to Sam provoked for me the biggest guffaw of the film (one of the very few). Best part of the film? The Harry Connick Jr. song over the opening credits.
Overall, it gets a 3; a waste of my time and money - it was I who was the FOOL for not reading Roger Ebert's review BEFORE going to the video shop. If you are looking for a nice romantic comedy get While You Were Sleeping, The Philadelphia Story, As Good As It Gets or anything else on the IMDb list of top 50 Romance films.
David Schwimmer is completely miscast as the womanizing stud who's every girl's dream. Somebody really needs to stub him with that toothpick. Maybe they should have switched his role with Jason Lee. And without any spoilers, let's just say the scheme breaks all kinds of bro code. And it's completely manufactured strictly for rom-coms. The jokes all fall flat. Mili Avital is functional as the lead, but considering they had the much funnier Judy Greer, and hotter Kari Wuhrer in the same movie, she pales in comparison. Jason Lee is the only one that does a great job. He plays a slightly nerdy lovable writer. Only he needs better partners to play opposite to.
Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.
"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.
Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.
Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.
The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of crap and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.
Believe me, I know of what I speak of.
David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.
Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.
Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.
And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless bitch who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.
The movie's dialog is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although sometimes it is).
Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.
Is it just me or is the entire cast of "Friends" been trying to mimic Kevin Smith?
* The Object of My Affection * Kissing A Fool * Three To Tango
Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.
Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither. Nor do any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.
Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.
I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."
The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée''s fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?
Oh wait, it is...
Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.
Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.
I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.
He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.
It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.
Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."
MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.
--Kissing Off This One, Dane Youssef
The movie had the occasional funny situations and some smart dialogs. Then I thought I was watching an episode of "Friends". The acting, dialogs, and even direction made this look like a sitcom.
Still I have a good time with this movie. It's funny and romantic at some points. Of course, with the typical American humor.
Give it a try, I can see why it's considered to be an underrated comedy.
BUT I URGE YOU ALL READING THIS: GO RENT KISSING A FOOL! It, despite a few cons, is the kind of romantic comedy you hope for when you stand in line for "You've Got Mail" and get crap. Quirky, metropolitan, pampered, and concise, this flick will hit the spot, man.
This is one of those movies that you can see the end coming a mile away. There are virtually no plot twists to deflect the story's straight-line trajectory. As such, the story is almost too simple and unimaginative to be worth telling. To varying degrees, most romantic comedies are fairly shallow. But "Kissing A Fool" has no subtlety at all, not in plot, not in characters, not in dialogue.
Lacking any complexity, the story relies on two main characters, Jay (Jason Lee) and Max (David Schwimmer) whose behavior toward each other is not believable. They're supposed to be best buddies. But they are constantly at each other's throats. Their constant arguing not only is annoying; it calls into question their friendship. How can they be best buddies?
The two are not at all alike. Jay is bookish and cerebral; Max is your typical arrogant, cocky self-centered sports freak jerk. All that animosity between these two guys does not lend credibility to their "friendship"; yet, it is the main contrivance that propels the film's plot. Further, it renders a story conclusion that is, by extension, also not believable.
The film's acting is a tad exaggerated. I like Jason Lee, but he tends to overact in this film. Mili Avital, as the girl in between, is okay, but she doesn't have much to do. And David Schwimmer's performance is something of a hyper-masculine strut-fest. Some subtlety in acting would have helped a lot.
For all that, "Kissing A Fool" is still worth watching, once. It has credible production values, and there are occasional lines of dialogue that are funny. And I think the film's underlying concept is fine. I just wish the script and the acting could have been a little more nuanced and subtle.
Needless to say, this is the start of a 'bizarre love triangle', with some very funny plot twists as well as some tugging of emotions. All three main characters are excellent, and this makes for quite an enjoyable film - something like a straighter, cleaner version of Chasing Amy, if anyone's looking for comparisons.
Most of what happens in the movie is told from Bonnie Hunt's character. She basically explains to a couple of people, whom one of them is a guy who is quite attractive and delightful (don't know his name however. He was the big guy). Anyway while at the wedding of the bride and groom, they're going over about how the character's all ended up. She is a publisher of a writer named Jay (Jason Lee) who suddenly falls for his editor, who is involved with his best friend Max (David Schwimmer). Max wants to test how faithful his girlfriend really is by getting Jay to somehow seduce her. If you follow movies, it'd be easy to understand that David Schwimmer is basically trying to play against type, with his bad boy player type character but he basically comes off as sleazy and somewhat creepy. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense that someone like the editor, whose character is played by Mili Avital, would fall for someone like that and rather quickly too.
To me, the thing that works about this movie is Jason Lee. It's almost hard to believe that a year before this was released, he played Banky in Chasing Amy. I thought he was a promising talent, but unfortunately Hollywood, and neither audiences saw it that way. But all of this was a long ways before those unfortunately successful Alvin and the Chipmunks disasters. I like Jason Lee as a romantic lead and it works here. He is utterly charming. I think in the end, his editor Samantha eventually falls for him, which is something that probably would have been more believable had it happened earlier on. By the end though, the movie pretty much loses any kind of momentum.
The plot here is almost as old as fiction itself. A guy falls in love with his best friend's fiancée. The guy in this instance is Jay (Jason Lee), a passive mope who is still devastated after being dumped by his ex-girlfriend and is writing a novel about the miserable experience. His best friend is Max (David Schwimmer), a Chicago sportscaster and all around hound dog who, of course, is the exact opposite of Jay in every way. The fiancée is Sam (Mili Avitai), the editor of Jay's book. Jay introduces Sam to Max, they fall instantly into love, move in together and start talking marriage.
Let me stop with the plot and explain how this movie goes into the crapper right away and never gets out. First, it opens with Sam getting married to somebody but we can't see who. We're then introduced to Linda (Bonnie Hunt) who claims to have introduced the newlyweds and proceeds to explain how they got together to a couple of fellow wedding guests, essentially narrating the story as it appears in flashbacks. The whole point of this structure is to create a mystery as to whether Sam ends up with Max or Jay. Yet before you realize there's supposed to be a mystery, Linda says she introduced the newlyweds and then we see her introducing Jay and Sam. So, anyone with half a brain has to assume that Jay and Sam are the ones who got married and absolutely nothing, not even Max and Sam getting engaged, ever causes you to reconsider that assumption. There's never a single second when it seems like Sam might end up with anyone other than Jay, but the film still carries out the non-existent mystery until the very end.
Secondly, Jason Lee is playing the sympathetic guy in a romantic triangle and he has a unibrow. It's not an ordinary unibrow, either. It's one where his eyebrows not only meet but take sharp turns and crawl down the bridge of his nose. It's so hideous you can hardly even notice anything else when Lee is on screen. Lee isn't exactly a matinée idol to begin with and here he's made to look physically repellent.
Those two blatant errors strangle Kissing a Fool in its crib. It wouldn't have mattered how good everything else was, it was doomed from the start by those two awful and inept creative choices. And they're both such easily avoided problems. Simply have Linda say she knows the married couple instead of introduced them and there could have at least theoretically been a mystery. Pluck Lee's eyebrows every morning before shooting began and at least the audience wouldn't have been distracted by looking at Lee and expecting him to start strumming a banjo and squealing like a pig.
It ultimately doesn't matter because the rest of the movie stinks on ice. Apparently realizing they weren't talented enough to do anything with the old "two people are perfect for each other but neither wants to betray a third person" shtick, they add in a twist that sounds like something Aaron Sorkin would have resorted to if Sports Night has lasted another season or two. Max wants to test the fidelity of his fiancée, so he asks Jay to see if he can get Sam to want to sleep with him. The filmmakers also include an appearance by Jay's horrible ex-girlfriend and give Max an ex-girlfriend he's constantly hanging around with for no explicable reason. They even throw in a female cousin (Judy Greer) visiting Sam and staying at her house, as though giving each main character an annoying chick to deal with somehow made it funny.
Compounding the suck is that Max is a far more interesting and dynamic than Jay and also happens to be the one who pushes the narrative along. When the third wheel of your romantic triangle is the most proactive character in the film, that's a problem.
Bonnie Hunt and David Schwimmer are both quite good here, particularly Schwimmer, who demonstrates the comedic skills that could have led him to an entirely different career if he hadn't been cemented in the public's mind as "Ross from Friends".
Kissing a Fool is a misconceived mistake that people should have seen coming a mile away. Unless you have a thing for guys with unibrows, don't bother watching it.
This man makes the movie. He is a little more constrained than he is in his Kevin Smith films but still his desert-in-a-drought-and-more humor strikes me as the unbelievably funny. If you like it dry, and some do, you've could check this movie out, just for Mr. Lee...well, and for the nastiest David Schwimmer i've ever seem...all i can say is "what up?"
You should be thinking "this review is lukewarm" because it is. So is the film. It's not brilliant or ground-breaking but it's funny. Worth a dollar or two on a slow night.
The story is about as twisted as you can get. Recent husband to be Max(schwimmer) is a womanising Sports presenter on television who asks his best friend Jay(lee) to "check" to see if recent wife to be is a cheater or not. Things are complicated, however, when Jay falls in love with her.
Schwimmer is amazing. Not only does he get rid of the Ross shadow on Friends, but also manages to plunge straight into a decent film. Rating=4/5
This lesser-known romantic comedy is charming and amusing. The three leads give good performances and the script, while a little salty at times, is fun. The scenes in and around Chicago are sure to please Midwesterners. While the ending is somewhat of a surprise, it is satisfying nonetheless. Fans of Schwimmer and Lee will be glad they took a chance on this film. Recommended also for those searching for a good evening of entertainment when the "hot" items are all checked out at the video store or library.
This movie is set around two best friends Max and Jay.Max is the party type all around ladies man while Jay is an unlucky in love man still sulking over a pat relationship.
I personally think the roles were givin out perfectly.David Schwimmer as the ladies man.Jason Lee as the sensitive man(a drastic change from his usual roles especially in Kevin Smith's movies)and Mili Avital give a sexy performance as the girl wanted by both men.
If you like a good romantic comedy i would say see this.Heck even if your not into romantic comedys still see this movie.
4 out of 5 stars.
David plays Max, a Chicago TV sportscaster, who is both insecure, and at the same time stuck on himself. His friend, Jay, played by former pro skateboarder Jason Lee, introduces him to "Sam", played by Israel native Mili Avital. Max and Sam seem perfect for each other. But Max wonders if he can really keep Sam "satisfied" long-term and tries to get Jay to see if she can become unfaithful.
Sam and Jay have to work together on a writing project, and in the end they begin to realize they are right for each other, and Max realizes it also, and finds out some things about his personal growth. Overall a very simple and often told story, but done so in an enjoyable way. I especially liked Jason Lee's performance. I also saw him in "Mumford" and he was very good in that. He is a 'natural.'