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176 user 67 critic

A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

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Ewan McGregor stars as a cleaning man in Los Angeles, who takes his boss' daughter hostage after being fired and replaced by a robot. Two "angels", who are in charge of human relationships ... See full summary »

Director:

Danny Boyle

Writer:

John Hodge
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Holly Hunter ... O'Reilly
Delroy Lindo ... Jackson
Dan Hedaya ... Gabriel
Cameron Diaz ... Celine Naville
Ian McNeice ... Mayhew
Ewan McGregor ... Robert Lewis
Frank Kanig Frank Kanig ... Ted
Mel Winkler Mel Winkler ... Frank Naville
Anne Cullimore Decker Anne Cullimore Decker ... Violet Eldred Gesteten
Stanley Tucci ... Elliot Zweikel
K.K. Dodds ... Lily
Tony Shalhoub ... Al
Ian Holm ... Naville
Christopher Gorham ... Walt
Maury Chaykin ... Tod Johnson
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Storyline

Ewan McGregor stars as a cleaning man in Los Angeles, who takes his boss' daughter hostage after being fired and replaced by a robot. Two "angels", who are in charge of human relationships on Earth, offer some unsolicited help to bring this unlikely couple together. Written by <CherylC894@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy for anyone who's ever been in danger...of falling in love. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Une vie moins ordinaire See more »

Filming Locations:

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,007,279, 26 October 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$4,266,243, 23 November 1997

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,700,000, 9 November 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Brad Pitt met with Director Danny Boyle and Producer Andrew Macdonald, the lead part was written with Ewan McGregor specifically in mind. See more »

Goofs

When Robert is digging the grave, Jackson is talking to him, sitting on the ground with legs crossed. There is a cut to Jackson's back, and a few seconds later a front view shows him with legs out-stretched. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Man: [v.o] So, here's the deal. We are in the garden, right? And everything is great. And there's this tree. And the man says, "Ooh, see that tree? "Don't eat the fruit of that tree. "That apple you do not eat." He goes inside, names some animals - maybe takes a dump. Anyway,what does she do? She eats the apple! I can't believe what I'm seeing! He says, "Don't eat it!" She eats it! Unbelievable! Since then, men,women... I don't know. It's all going wrong!
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Crazy Credits

When the preciding footage ends, it's followed by claymation animation containing the principal characters of the film engaged in further adventures. See more »

Connections

References Reservoir Dogs (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Deeper River
Written by Roland 'Rollo' Armstrong (as Rollo), Jamie Catto & Mark Bates
Published by BMG, Cheeky Music, Copyright Control
Performed by Dusted
Courtesy of Cheeky Records Ltd.
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User Reviews

Too messy to be enjoyable
7 February 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

With divorce rates increasing, two angels are sent on a mission to bring men and women together as they should be - or not bother coming back to heaven. Their mission is a young man, Robert, who has been replaced as a cleaner by a robot and the spoilt daughter of his boss, Celine. The two meet as Robert bursts into his boss's office to demand his job back and accidentally ends up kidnapping Celine. As they go on the run they gradually grow to hate each other less.

Following up Trainspotting was never going to be an easy task - but at least they could have at least got near the quality of that film! In what feels like it wanted to be deliberately quirky, the plot involves angels controlling fate to bring two young people together in love. If it developed this idea in a structured and enjoyable manner then everything would have been fine, however as it is it is all over the place and doesn't really make much in the way of sense. Instead it feels more like a wildly out of control collection of stylish ideas.

In terms of narrative it barely hangs together and it creates a problem when it requires us to care for the characters and be part of their romance (as in, care about it). It is very appropriate that the end credits features a cartoon of sorts for that is fitting for the level of development that is in the central tale. The action is silly but not to the point where it gains the imaginative quirkiness of, say, the Coen brothers. Instead it is hard to penetrate the film and get involved with it, the action is daft and illogical, the laughs are rare and the characters are more like cartoon characters than people. It could have worked - but it doesn't.

The cast is good on paper, but the lack of material lets them down. McGregor came to fame through Boyle, but he gets done no favours here; he does stand out as someone who tries hard to make the material work, but he can't manage it. Diaz is good as well but again it's the material given to her that is the problem. The support cast is better simply because their lack of character and development isn't a problem; Lindo is good even if Hunter doesn't really fit in; although Holm and Hedaya have OK little cameos.

Overall this has energy but it doesn't really hang together in a way that works. It has touches of imagination and style but mostly it drowns in a sea of quirkiness lacking substance. It's a shame that such a talented cast and crew didn't have something better to work with - quirkiness for quirkiness' sake is not enough here.


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