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A case for background checks and further research on people's life partners
As I've stated before, there's nothing worse in life than (a) a wasted talent and (b) a wasted opportunity on film and, unfortunately, A Case of You is a misstep in what could've resulted in a film with a strong commentary on our over-connected society. Its issue right off the bat is it takes an idea that isn't really romantic and makes it the subject of a romantic comedy. The idea of a man using a woman's social networking profile (a woman he just met, mind you) to make an attempt to model himself after a man who likes the same music as she does, the same books, and the same activities so he can come to have a chance with her.
This movie shows qualities of a man I'm sure few women appreciate: disingenuous behavior, dishonesty, possible invasion of privacy, etc. Not exactly the traits you'd want to find in your significant other. Let me offer a question to the girls that enjoyed this film, what if you current or future significant other did the same thing that the lead male character in A Case of You to you? Would you still find his qualities ones to relish and his character worthy enough to date? The man in question is Sam (Justin Long), an ambitious writer confined to the uninspired job of penning the novelizations to hit movies (confession: I collected those like antique comics as a child). The female he falls for is Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), a barista he meets one day who is subsequently fired the following day. Sam then asks the flirtatious, presumably homosexual dwarf who works there (Peter Dinklage in the kind of role he should avoid if he wants to try and break any stereotypes) about her to which he provides her last name, leaving Sam's option to go from socializing to social-networking.
Both Long and Wood give adequate performances because their charisma as actors rarely allows them to do otherwise. Since both actors have started, each have taken a wide-variety of roles, Wood especially, whose riveting performance in Catherine Hardwicke's Thirteen as a delinquent teen I'll never forget. However, it is Long's character who is unlikable in the picture, one of the only movies next to his film Taking Chances a few years back that I recall not being fond of his character. Long's character, for starters, is one of the writer-types that likes to write three to five sentence before deleting them in disgust. Furthermore, he's also the kind of person in a romantic comedy that has the gall to get angry at the girl for liking the person he pretends to be rather than the person he really is.
This is where my optimism and likability for Long's character went out the window. Here's a guy who fakes his entire personality for this woman and convinces her everything she likes and dislikes mirrors his personal likes and dislikes before getting mad at her for not having anything else to talk about besides her specific tastes. To put that in some perspective, that'd be like if I was a filmmaker and mentioned a movie not my own that I really loved and enjoyed to my girlfriend. Say we talked about it for a long while. Trying to follow the abrupt change in emotions portrayed in A Case of You, it'd be like after fifteen minutes of discussing the film I got mad at my girlfriend for not mentioning my movie.
Cameos are littered in the movie, including Sam's pest of a boss played by Vince Vaughn, Brendan Fraser in questionably necessary role, and Sam Rockwell as a guitar teacher who is called by Sam once he learns Birdie finds nothing sexier than a man who can play guitar. It's depressing to note that Rockwell's performance here is shockingly unfunny and so over-the-top and out of place in the film that it's a blessing he's only in one scene. Never again do I want to say such a thing about Rockwell.
The film wants to make a case for the unhealthy qualities that arouse when there is a bias or larger focus on one person in a relationship, but by the third act, when the problem is recognized, it's hard to have any sympathy for the lead character since he brought it all upon himself. The only sympathy one can have is for Wood's character, who is just sucked into this mess by an insincere man wearing sincere clothing. Director Kat Coiro seems to understand human relationships, given her tract record of short films and feature-length films concerning love, personal struggles, and dating, but Coiro seems to make A Case of You into a case for background checks and further research on people's life partners.
Starring: Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Vince Vaughn, Sam Rockwell, Brendan Fraser, and Peter Dinklage. Directed by: Kat Coiro.
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