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Not what I wanted this movie to be.
This review contains some spoilers - so please be warned! I was very disappointed. What I was hoping for was another witty comedy with a completely new plot like "40 Year Old Virgin" or perhaps "Something About Mary", but what I got was a film that started off strange and fascinating... but degraded into a sappy romantic comedy with dark undertones.
Starting with Steve Carell. I like his work. "The Office" is funny to me with the dead-pan humor. I like Steve's characters when he plays the affable, innocent, shy "every-man" man thrown into wild situations. I also loved him in "Anchorman" and even enjoyed to some extent "Dinner for Schmucks". He is why I went to see this movie.
I absolutely hated Keira Knightley's character - Penny. That wacky, misfiring, emotional, free-spirit all wrapped up in a neurotic package is everything I hate in a woman. I don't find her funny, or attractive, or intelligent... I just was hoping she was going to die off or go away, but alas I had to put up with her until the end of the film. When she laughed, I had no emotion. When she cried, I had no sympathy. As a character, she failed to touch me on any level.
I'm not going to go through the plot, but suffice it to say that about 45 minutes in, I started looking at my watch. If somebody would have described this as a romantic comedy, I would have never stepped foot into the theater. I completely hate "rom-coms" because with the music and the editing being so predictable for me, I find them so very fake. Now I've been known to tear-up on occasion, when actors can convince me that the situation is somehow plausible and likely or even real. But formula movies turn me off.
Boy meets girl, girl and boy don't like each other, then some big situation happens, and girl and boy somehow find they they actually do like each other. This is exactly what happens in this movie. It was like a train going down a track.
I very nearly walked out on this movie, not caring how it ended because it was just so predictable. For me, even with the cameos from great actors I have respect for, they couldn't save this stinker of a movie.
I gave it three stars because of the originality of the plot and the acting of Steve Carell, William Petersen, and Martin Sheen. The film had it's few moments (mostly in the first half hour), but then it trailed off into a boring, predictable, sappy-sweet... forgettable formula movie.
Kind of like a car coming at you at night. At first it's bright with the headlights in your face, then it passes you with all the excitement of the sound and the wind, and then you watch the taillights fade off into the darkness.