A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
From a humble background and with traditional values, Irish Chris Wilton is still struggling financially despite being a recently retired high ranked tennis pro. He has taken a job as a tennis instructor at an upscale London tennis club, although he knows there is a better life for him somewhere down the road. He is befriended by one of his students, wealthy Tom Hewett. Chris starts to date Tom's sister, Chloe Hewett, a girl-next-door type who is immediately attracted to Chris. Chloe quickly knows she wants to marry Chris, and through her businessman father, Alec Hewett, tries to help Chris and their future by getting him an executive job in Alec's company. In his life with the Hewetts, Chris begins to enjoy the finer things in life. Through it all however, Chris cannot help thinking about Nola Rice, a struggling American actress who he meets at the Hewett estate and who is Tom's unofficial fiancée. Nola is vivacious, and she knows the effect she has on men, including Chris. Unlike ... Written by
When Chris and Chloe have dinner with Tom and Heather, Heather's hair is in front of her face in one shot, and tucked behind her ear a second later, even though she never touches it. See more »
Christopher "Chris" Wilton:
The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.
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Woody Allen Is A Serious Artist -- And We All Must Pay!
A sleazy, blue collar tennis pro marries into a wealthy family -- only to risk it all for back-alley passion that swiftly turns to horror.
Woody Allen is telling an old story. Not only does he borrow shamelessly from Dreiser's classic novel An American Tragedy, (1925) but from modern films like MASQUERADE (1988) and THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999).
Problem is, the cast and the script are not good enough to make the familiar material seem fresh, let alone gripping. When you watch THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, the lush Italian setting and the casual cool of Jude Law's "Dickie Greenleaf" really sell you on the idea that the good life is worth killing for. But in this movie, the rich family are such a one-dimensional collection of yawning British stereotypes it's impossible to imagine any poor boy being tempted -- let alone captivated -- by their listless pleasures and sleepy little lives.
Then there's the hero. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a total Joe Blow. He fails to make this creepy little social climber even remotely interesting. When Matt Damon played Tom Ripley, he did a brilliant job of making Ripley seem sweet and helpless at first --so you could like him, and also so you could see why he reaches his breaking point and starts fighting back. Even Rob Lowe in MASQUERADE was able to summon up a certain easy cool. His gigolo was a rugged sailor, a true competitor, and he fell in love with his target for real. (Very romantic.) More than that, he was a guy who got off on thinking fast and fooling the rich folks. But Joe Blow can't do that. He has zero sexual allure, zero danger, no soul. Just a blank stare and a pout.
Things only get worse when Scarlett Johanssen makes the scene. Not since Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman were scorching up the screen in their STARS WARS abomination have two sulky young stars so utterly lacked any sexual fire or intelligence. The difference is that George Lucas never said he understood sexual passion. And he never built his stories around desire. But in MATCH POINT everything depends on the idea that Joe Blow is willing to throw away everything --and I mean EVERYTHING -- just for more hot sex with his secret girlfriend.
Poor Scarlett Johannsen! She's not really that bad an actress. But she's in the hands of a director who is so old and tired and bored that he can't even begin to think about helping her create a character. Woody's idea of making a young woman "sexy" is to have her light up a cigarette. So disgusting! And worse than that, so out of date!
Scarlett's Nola Rice is nothing but a plot contrivance. One minute she's a crude, trash-talking slut, a gold digger bragging that she can bag any man. Then suddenly she's a good girl, toiling away in a cozy little shop and aching for her man to come "home" to her instead of going back to his wife. Huh??!??! Did Woody even TRY to explain this character to Scarlett? I don't think so, because she looks really confused (and sleepy) all the time, like a young actress who's been partying a bit too hard while shooting overseas.
At any rate, the movie all boils down to Joe Blow suddenly being so desperate and obsessed that he just has to kill someone. Now, the truth is he could have killed the ENTIRE CAST by the last half hour and the whole audience would have just turned over and snored. Or stood up and cheered. But there are a couple of surprise twists at the end -- worth seeing just for the way they make you think. But on an emotional level, they don't involve anything sexy or exciting, like a happy ending. Woody Allen is above that sort of thing.
Woody Allen is a serious artist -- and we all must pay!
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