Cultural critic David Kepesh finds his life -- which he indicates is a state of "emancipated manhood" -- thrown into tragic disarray by Consuela Castillo, a well-mannered student who awakens a sense of sexual possessiveness in her teacher.
Former British pop star Gary Shaller is at a crossroads in his life: his job in New York City is going nowhere, his American wife, Dora, drives him crazy, and he passed his thirtieth birthday four years ago. Add to that his best friend Paul seems to become more successful every time he breathes. Gary is feeling depressed and dejected... until he meets Anna. She's glamorous and smart; she's seductive and witty. Best of all, she's crazy about Gary. Anna is the girl of Gary's dreams...literally. And that's the problem. Gary can only see Anna in his dream life, so he's got to find a way to carry on the most satisfying relationship of his life, in his dreams. His quest for lucid dreaming techniques introduces Gary to some crazy characters who ultimately give him a new perspective on life. Written by
Sometimes I wish that you could just hit the sack and never wake up. If your favorite song never ended, or your best book never closed, if the emotions mustered from these things would just go on and on, who wouldn't want to stay asleep? The guy who discovers that perpetual dream, he's my man.
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'The guy who discovers that perpetual dream, he's my man.'
It is probably wise to take it easy on first venture by writer/director personas who probably would not have had their initial film see the light of day (or dark of theater) were it not for the connections of a famous show biz family. But Jake Paltrow did indeed achieve this goal so with the idea in mind that this is an initial outing so its best to look for the reasons this little film works and the reasons it could be better.
Gary Shaller (Martin Freeman) is an artist on the skids: he has a history of being a successful songwriter/musician but now is woefully stuck writing asinine jingles for second rate TV shows. His home life is no better as his wife Dora (Gweneth Paltrow) is a nagging discontent whiner. And he is now thirty-four years old with little hope for change. All of this is brought into clear focus by the quite opposite life of his best friend Paul (Simon Pegg) who seems to have it all right. Gary encounters dream whisperer Mel (Danny DeVito) who introduces him to Lucid Dreaming - and Gary somnolently discovers the beautiful, smart, sexy Anna (Penelope Cruz), the woman of his 'dreams' who crosses over being imagined and being real - and who adores Gary. And this discovery and the manner in which Gary deals with it forms the solution of the story.
The idea of lucid dreaming has been used before (Inception, The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine, etc), but the concept is strong enough that Jake Paltrow's offering of his version is not a problem. Many parts of the film are sweet, but in general it drags and refuses to flesh out the characters enough to make us really care. But as a story about choosing between dream life and real life, a bit of Shakespeare would help: 'We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.'
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