*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you ever get into an argument about whether writers should be
allowed to adapt their own books (based on their own life experiences)
for the screen - and then get to direct what they have written, then
cite this movie as an example as to why it should never be allowed.
The basic premise of the movie is fine: a couple cannot conceive. They undergo IVF. He writes a film script based on the experience without telling her, reading her secret diary to get "the woman's angle". She finds out. They separate but are reconciled.
Where the film fails (and this is where my argument about letting writers direct comes in) is in the dialogue. The speeches in this thing are so stodgy. So wordy. Everything sounds like it came straight off the page of the book. Everybody talks all the time in well rounded complete paragraphs. Speeches that might read well on the page of a novel will sound clumsy and stilted if acted without some revision, cutting, some paring down. In real life, people just don't talk like they do in books. In real life, people just don't talk like they do in this movie - not even smug rich London media types. There was no natural rhythm to the conversations and I felt really sorry for the actors having to deliver this stuff, and they had to deliver so much of it. The performances suffered as a result. No one was believable in their characters except maybe Adrian Lester, who has a talent for shining out in bad British movies. He shone out again, solely I suspect by virtue of having some of the shortest lines in the whole thing.
The music was pretty dreadful too - especially the moment when, abandoned by his wife, Hugh Laurie has to stand there being miserable with Westlife telling us he's miserable on the soundtrack. WE GET THE MESSAGE!
Ben Elton is, famously, one of the father figures of the "Alternative Comedy" boom back in the Eighties which lambasted the cosy unreal clichéd world that British comedy had become. It's sad then to see him turn out this bloated unamusing movie which is about as unfunny, and unconnected from reality as any episode Terry and June (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0135736/).
It runs for 101 minutes and feels like half that again. The whole movie is about babies, and one thing I do know about babies is they grow up. They become their own people, start to live lives of their own. Elton should have let his baby go. In the hands of a scriptwriter and a director who could step back from the story and take a more objective approach this could have been a really good film.
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Official site|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|