|Index||8 reviews in total|
Did you ever know a guy who had lots of girl friends and one night stands but who seemed to have no intentions of ever falling in love? Johnny (played by the producer and screenwriter of this film, Scott Caen ) is a 30 year old successful author who writes about romance and women. Perhaps he is trying to understand what a real relationship is about since his parents split up when he was quite young and his father ( played by his own real father James Caan) tells him unequivocally that there is no such thing as love. Of course, he does fall in love with a book critic who doesn't like his latest book and the story goes from there. The film is moderately successful in examining the impact of love on this young man. There are some insightful moments which will resonate with many young men struggling with this universal theme which has been depicted in many great movies. What seemed to be lacking was the opportunity for the audience to know Mercy (played by Wendy Glenn) well enough to also fall in love with her, or at least understand Johnny's love for her as we had, for example understood Woody Allen's feelings for Annie Hall or other cinematic romances. The scenes between Johnny and his father were well done. The younger Caen told our preview screening audience that these were particularly difficult for him since he actually has a close relationship with his dad as compared to the distant one they played in the film. The screenwriter/actor chose Patrick Hoelck, an old friend whom he trusted to be the Director and he was rewarded with a well-photographed movie, which captured the emotions and transformation of the main character. (2010) ***
I saw "Mercy" as the closing night film at the Gen Art Film Festival.
This was one of those movies where I didn't have any real feeling about
it going into the screening. Basically. it was one of those films that
if I saw it that would be cool, but if I didn't that's OK too. With
that being said, I did venture into the screening and below is what I
thought of it.
In "Mercy," Scott Caan plays Johnny, a successful fictional writer, who writes about love but has never been in love. One night at his latest book party, Johnny is up to his usual flirtatious nature when he eyes Mercy (Wendy Glenn) from across the room. He walks over to her but Mercy isn't falling for his playboy routine and all of Johnny's pick up lines. Johnny is taking back because Mercy isn't falling for his charming nature and feels that there is something else to this girl that he has never seen or felt before. Johnny now has to question if his idea of love is a "fictitious" feeling or if he is truly is falling in love. An interesting and sometimes dark film ensues...
After having mixed feelings on actually seeing the film, I am glad that I did in fact see it. While the film itself didn't blow me away, it definitely had a well written story and solid performances all around. I think the script itself, which was written by Scott Caan is probably what made it work for the most part. Like any script there are some flaws and definitely a lot of clichéd moments here. I think we all heard this plot outline before but the way the story was written basically is what made it seem out of the ordinary. What I mean by that is Mr. Caan decided to overlap a lot of the acts and kind of blur them together. A lot of films do this but very few that I seen do it successfully. This one did a good job of it which made an overused idea seem fresh.
The acting was very noteworthy. I actually really liked Scott Caan's performance as Johnny. He had a very diverse role for him here. He went from a very upbeat and typical male character to a darker and depressing character. Also I have to point out that his chemistry with Wendy Glenn was just terrific. They had a great on-screen presence and their chemistry felt powerful and real. Wendy by herself did a great job as well and I think she is definitely on her way to star in some new films sooner rather than later. The supporting cast all did a great job as well and really added to feeling the film was trying to create. Also I must lastly point out James Caan's performance and how dead on it was. I think the director, Patrick Hoelck made the right choice by picking James Caan to play the father role although it did seem like the obvious to me as well.
The director, Patrick Hoelck, did a great job here with his directorial debut. I think working with friends probably made the film-making process a bit more easier but his quality of work on this film was very good for a first feature. I have to also say that he did a really good job capturing the characters feelings and emotions as well as changing the direction of the film from light and fluffy to dark and depressing.
In the end, "Mercy" was good for what it is. It wasn't anything spectacular and won't be winning any awards any time soon. I feel the unique direction the story went, although pretty predictable half way through, and the acting was it's strongest marks. The film did a decent job holding the interest of the audience but again didn't really do anything to blow them away. It was definitely a good first time effort and for that I give everyone involved a round of applause.
MovieManMenzel's final rating for "Mercy" is a 7 out of 10.
Johnny Ryan (Scott Caan) is a successful clean-living writer and a
dedicated one-night-stand bachelor. At a party for his book, he falls
for Mercy Bennett but she slyly rejects him. His agent Jake (Dylan
McDermott) tells him about all the rave reviews except for one savaging
by critic Mercy. He confronts her and they eventually hit it off. Some
time later, he's bitter, angry, and disheveled. His friends Erik and
Chris set him up with Robin (Erika Christensen). It goes badly and he
visits his estranged father (James Caan).
Scott Caan is unlikely to win any awards for his writing. It's a sparse script with a few bits of interesting dialog. The more compelling part is that this allowed him to do some acting. The emptiness in his life is compelling. It would have been great to have a better actress play Mercy. A switch with Christensen could be wonderful. This is an effective romantic tragedy.
Written by and starring Scott Caan? Usually this would be a "sink or
swim" attempt by an actor. I believe it was a great shot. In my
opinion, a legacy actor that makes his own legacy is to be revered.
Scott Caan including his own father into the story was a great addition
to the realism of the story.
This is a "man movie" and a "chick flick" rolled into one. Of course there is one exception... No guns or martial arts. The relationships of the main characters to one another helps make it very real and makes the immersion into the film easier than expected.
Predictable? Somewhat. Cheesy? Not so much. Well played sir? Yes. The cast is talented infinitely beyond what the gross of the movie indicates.
All babble aside; I loved the clever lines, solid performances, warmth, and realism. I agree with the previous review, in the fact that it will not be winning any awards. I feel, however it is well worth the time watching it for the true romantic realist.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When actor Scott Caan wrote this script, he did an amazing job of
condensing a stock romantic comedy formula into one of the sharpest and
most personable 30 something minutes you'll ever see. That section of
Mercy is so affecting that even though the film only has one other
decent scene in it, you'll stay involved with the story through all the
other too serious, self-important melodramatics. The problem is that
once Caan got to the end of the formula, he couldn't come up with any
more plot on his own. This is like the move Jersey Girl, except Ben
Affleck and Jennifer Lopez didn't have a kid so when Lopez' character
died, there's nothing for the Affleck character to do but mope around
on screen for another hour. And I actually liked Jersey Girl and also
enjoyed this motion picture. Mercy is just another example of how
writers today are so good at other elements of storytelling but can't
plot their way out of a paper bag.
Johnny Ryan (Scott Caan) is that classic romantic comedy stereotype - the guy who doesn't believe in love. Johnny is an author of romantic novels who's happiest moment in any relationship with a woman is when she leaves the next morning without being asked. Then, to the surprise of absolutely no one who has seen even one of these flicks, Johnny runs into a woman who blows right through his nonsense and falls hopelessly in love with her. Mercy (Wendy Glenn) is a literary critic and her charm and confidence completely disarm Johnny. Their courtship, following Johnny's clever and wonderfully character defining interactions with one of his heartbroken friends (John Boyd) and two happily married others (Bre Blair and Troy Garity), is entirely predictable and thoroughly delightful.
Then the story jumps forward to Johnny's heartbreak after his relationship with Mercy has ended, which is totally done in earnest even though it's seems to be an exact mirror of his friend's heartbreak, which was treated as comedy. The story then jumps back to why Johnny's story is different and then jumps forward again to Johnny emerging from his grief and back into the dating pool. All of that stuff has an utterly different tone and approach than the opening rom-com fluff of Johnny and Mercy. It is dour instead of bubbly. It is overwrought instead of sly. It is about a whole lot of nothing instead of the reliable step-by-step paradigm of boy meets girl.
The scenes at the beginning with Johnny and his friends and then Johnny and Mercy are so much fun and so well crafted that I didn't mind the film shifting hard into essentially a different genre, from rom-com to tragedy. The initial switch was so jarring and so unexplained that I lost a little of my involvement and never got it back, not even when the switch was later explained, but by that point I cared about Johnny Ryan and where he was going to end up. Once that happens, and you don't have to necessarily do all that much original or daring to make it happen, you'll follow a character's story all the way to the end. If I hadn't been made to care about Johnny, I would have definitely lost patience with this movie and its schizophrenic nature.
It's almost as if Scott Caan wrote this script to prove he could not only create both a great romantic comedy and a great drama, but he could seamlessly weave them together. Well, Caan sure wrote a great rom-com. He wrote an okay but aimless drama. Combining them together, though, was pretty much a failure. It's probably a bad idea to begin with, but after the moment of tragedy that divides the two, Caan simply doesn't have enough plot to sustain the story. There just aren't enough things that occur and all the non-linear machinations of Mercy can't disguise that. After watching a series of events where two people fall adorably in love, the rest is nothing more than watching one of them be sad until the film ends.
With the excellent performances of Wendy Glenn as Mercy and Dylan McDermott as Johnny's agent, this movie starts great and whimpers to the end but remains worth watching.
everyone in this movie is beautiful! every woman is sexy and gorgeous!
every man is sexy and gorgeous! perfect clothes, perfect hair, perfect
bodies, beautiful cars, lovely homes, etc. even the wait staff in the
restaurants are perfect. and i had a problem with that!
our leading man 'johnny' isn't to be believed, in my opinion, - he uses a typewriter (in the digital age), smokes, drinks and he's a writer. wow - what imagination for a character. the leading lady 'heather' has a medical problem. who couldn't see a disaster coming? BUT - i actually became tied up in the story due to the format in which it unfolds for the viewer. it does keep you guessing and wanting to see what happens next. before - after - next - (watch the flick you'll understand.)
the leading man 'johnny' had me a bit on edge because he comes across as emotionally unstable and capable of murder. which would have thrown the story way off. fortunately that doesn't happen. but i wonder if the director intended this feeling?
not a good movie - not a bad movie - it's a movie!
Successful romance novelist Scott Caan (as Johnny Ryan) likes it when
the women he picks up leave before he wakes up. While out with his
boozing pal John Boyd (as Erik) to find new sex partners, Mr. Caan
meets slender asthmatic Wendy Glenn (as Mercy Bennett). Her condition
causes Caan to quit smoking. Caan tells Ms. Glenn she's the most
beautiful woman he has ever seen, but flattery gets him nowhere. She's
also discovered to be the one reviewer to pan his latest novel.
Naturally, Caan wants Glenn even more...
The main character writes about romance for a living, but seeks only sexual gratification in real life. A good twist might have him lose his writing prowess upon meeting his soul mate, but that's not "Mercy". Caan wrote the script, and surely worked closely with debuting director Patrick Hoelck. Casting calls went out to the star's father James Caan (as Gerry), who convincingly plays his son's dad, and best friend Troy Garity (as Dane), son of actress Jane Fonda. Alas, the non-linear scenes and foreshadowing suffocate the movie.
***** Mercy (2/7/09) Patrick Hoelck ~ Scott Caan, Wendy Glenn, Troy Garity, James Caan
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I suppose there may be a few less likely names for a book critic than "Mercy," (Miss Illiterate Fool comes to mind), but surely there cannot be many. I do not think the New York Times would have a food column by-lined "Al L. Yucky." If the best guy for the job WAS actually named that, they would have him write his offerings under a more suitable pseudonym, such as "Pierre Frenchman" or something. It's hard not to imagine tons of texts from publishers/authors/publicity hacks arriving with every novel's proof exam copies sent to Mercy's employer along the lines of "Please have Mercy on me." As a long-time veteran of the book business, I cannot recall any critics going by the handle of "Mercy;" obviously, any that were born that way saw fit to update before breaking into the critiquing game. Furthermore, most asthmatics who are subject to dropping down dead from the least little attack wear their inhalers on lanyards, with back-ups in their pockets. That way, if a purse-snatching brings on an attack, it's not an automatic death sentence. If your car keys were the only thing keeping you alive for the next five minutes, would you be constantly losing or forgetting them?
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