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7/10
Enough sparkle between the leads to carry the film
24 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
'You've Got Mail' is one of those films that's grown on me over the years through repeat viewings, perhaps as the idea of falling in love online has really taken hold. Now, with the likes of match.com, OK Cupid, Tinder, Plenty Of Fish (to name but a few) firmly in our midst, it is no longer so unusual to meet – and indeed be unfaithful with – someone online. But 'You've Got Mail' was there at the very start in what we perceive – perhaps with some accuracy - to be more innocent times when the idea of email and the internet was still a novelty and thus far undiscovered by the weirdos, creeps and jerks! Ah, those were the days.

The film's central concept is simple enough. Thirtysomethings Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) both work in the book business and both feel that there is something missing from their long term relationships with other people (Greg Kinnear for her, Parker Posey for him). The film opens in media res with what has clearly become a daily routine over the past few weeks of Kathleen and Joe covertly sending friendly and flirty emails to each other after their respective partners have left for work. From the opening scene, the audience discovers that Joe's 'NY152' and Kathleen's 'Shopgirl' 'met' in an online chatroom some weeks prior, and that up to this point neither knows the other's real life name or identity, both acknowledging that they have so far been careful not to reveal personal details (although it is not clear why this is). What is clear is that they have started to form an emotional attachment.

Kathleen runs a small independent children's bookshop that her mother left her and has a large following of regular customers, while Joe co-runs his family's business 'Fox Books', a large US-wide chain of bookstores. Joe is about to open a large 'Fox Books' store round the corner from Kathleen's bookshop, threatening its survival. Joe also happens to meet Kathleen by accident when he visits her shop with his young relatives and is charmed by her, although he is careful to conceal who he really is, while Kathleen also feels a spark for him. She later learns his true identity when they bump into each other at a party and any initial attraction they felt goes out of the window as the two begin to bicker as Kathleen begins to realise the potential threat that Joe's big conglomerate poses, while Joe belittles and demeans her. And so forms the pattern of their relationship during the film as they continue to clash in real life while their online relationship goes from strength to strength as each remains ignorant of the other's identity.

The first time I watched this, I found it frustrating that Kathleen could be so naïve and know so little about her business so as not to realise at first just what a big a risk the 'Fox Books' store poses to her. Her naivety is meant to be part of her charm and what contrasts her with Parker Posey's more ruthless and cut-throat Patricia but it doesn't even occur to her to start to look around for new premises. If she'd acted more quickly – or even at all – she could have just been looking at relocation rather than closing.

I found it equally frustrating that after finding out that Kathleen and 'Shopgirl' are one and the same, Joe doesn't reveal himself to her straightaway (although having now seen the film a few more times I don't think Kathleen would have run straight into his arms). Even so, the whole last half hour of the film as Joe works to befriend Kathleen before the 'big reveal' was too drawn out.

'You've Got Mail' is an undemanding film that follows the rom-com formula almost to the letter and while it won't win any prizes for originality (both Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan could play these roles backwards), there's enough sparkle between the two leads to make this worth a watch and maybe the odd repeat viewing if it's on TV.
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4/10
Intriguing up to a point, frustrating thereafter (contains spoilers)
13 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Moira Davis (Shannon Tweed) is unhappily married to abusive husband Daniel (Joe Cortese) who is having an affair with his secretary (Rochelle Swanson) practically under Moira's nose. Moira begins having dreams where she is making passionate love to a mysterious man in a house she doesn't recognise. A visit to an astrologer (Stella Stevens) reveals that Moira's dreams are 'real' and that her and her mystery man share a psychic link. After a few near misses, Moira eventually meets the man of her dreams, whose name is Nick Richardson (Andrew Stevens) and has been having the same dreams about her. The two quickly begin an affair and fall in love but Moira's powerful husband finds out and swears revenge. What is to become of Moira and Nick?

'Illicit Dreams' is everything you might expect from a low-budget sexual thriller: B-movie cast – check; clichéd one-dimensional characters – check; shaky acting – check; questionable chemistry - check; largely implausible plot line – big check. Nevertheless, I thought the psychic dreams/star-crossed lovers angle was intriguing and I did find myself rooting for Moira who is desperate to escape from her brute of a husband and sail off into the sunset with Nick. If you haven't seen this film, read no further…

Unfortunately it was not to be and here is where the film really fails the viewer. It all comes to a head in a predictable chase scene with Daniel, having already murdered his secretary after she betrays him, brandishing a gun and threatening to kill Moira too. At the last minute, Nick saves her by shooting Daniel dead. He takes Moira in his arms and swears he'll never leave her and then… Moira wakes up in bed next to her husband who sleepily asks her to make him a cup of coffee and the film ends. My reaction to this was "whaaat?!" And not in a good way.

This film is no 'Inception' or 'Vanilla Sky' as at least with those films you still had a pretty good idea of what was real and what was dream. With 'Illicit Dreams', the audience is left not knowing whether the whole film was Moira's elongated dream or just parts of it and it just left too many unanswered questions to be enjoyable: was any of it real? Is Nick real or just a figment of Moira's imagination? What about Nick's friend and his scenes without Moira – were they not real either? Did she even visit the astrologer or was that part of the dream too? Is Daniel really as bad as he's painted? Was he having an affair at all or again, was this part of Moira's dream? Was the first part of the film real up to a point? If so, when did the dream take over? Or was the last scene of Moira waking up a dream too?

The filmmakers intended to keep the viewer guessing (mission accomplished) but was it also their intention to frustrate and annoy? Best case scenario is that the film was only partially a dream and now the action will play out in real life exactly the same. Alternatively, the dream will have inspired Moira to end her unhappy marriage. But either way, so much was left unanswered that I'd even go as far as saying that the ending ruined the whole film for me.

I've given this film 4 out of 10 holding my attention as long as it did but I certainly have no desire to watch it again.
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6/10
Something borrowed, something troubling
24 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film at the cinema after seeing a trailer for it. I was expecting a romantic comedy and while there are comic moments, I would describe it more as a romantic drama.

Perpetual good girl Rachel White (Ginnifer Goodwin) has always been insecure. So much so, in law school she missed her chance at a relationship with her best friend Dex (Colin Egglestone) by being afraid to admit her feelings for him or see that he was in love with her. After hearing Rachel tell her lifelong friend, outgoing Darcy (Kate Hudson), that they are 'just friends', Dex lets himself be pushed into a relationship with Darcy. A few years later, Dex and Darcy are engaged and Rachel is still single and unable to completely forget her feelings for Dex. On the night of her 30th birthday, Rachel finds herself thrown into company with Dex after Darcy has gone home early. Having had a few drinks, Rachel lets her guard down a little and light-heartedly confesses to Dex that she's had a crush on him since law school. To Rachel's surprise (she assumed he knew), Dex is stunned and impulsively kisses her. The next day the two of them wake up in Rachel's bed, having slept together. And so it begins...

I had some issues while watching this film due to the subject matter. The trailer that I saw did not reveal that Rachel and Dex slept together, merely that they had kissed and in my opinion, while a kiss would have been bad enough, having full-blown sex is something else. As the audience, we're meant to be mollified somewhat by Dex's revelation (early on) that '(Rachel) was all I ever thought about in law school' and he later goes on to admit that he assumed Rachel had never returned his feelings because she effectively set him up with Darcy. It also doesn't take Dex long to tell Rachel he loves her. But, I'm sorry, however you dress this up, cheating is cheating. I remember watching this film and thinking, "How can this possibly end well?" While we're sure that Rachel is a more suitable partner for Dex than Darcy, what they're doing is still wrong and thus I found it difficult to root for them.

Of course, as it turns out, Darcy is no angel either and Rachel and Dex end up living happily ever after but believe me, there is some very uncomfortable (definitely non-comedy) viewing until the story reaches its resolution with some tears from me, as well as cursing at the screen because Dex treats Rachel appallingly for a large part of the movie, essentially stringing her along while he dithers over how, when and indeed if to end things with Darcy. Meanwhile, Rachel lets herself be treated like a doormat and while her and Dex do end up together eventually, I worry about whether letting a man walk all over you beforehand is a good starting point for a relationship. Just because they're together now, does that mean that Rachel won't let Dex treat her that badly again? Will the two of them now be completely honest and open with each other? I have my doubts.

Having said all that, the film does improve on second viewing and if you can park your moral conscience for a while, what follows is a quite touching story of two people who are completely in love but have both made stupid mistakes that they must do their best to overcome before they can be together. The path to true love rarely runs smoothly but particularly when it's being trodden by stupid, insecure people.
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8/10
When Pygmalion met Doris Day
25 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
There's no denying it. 'The Ugly Truth' is yet another predictable rom-com where you can see the ending coming a mile off. But then it's films like this that you watch for the journey rather than the destination, and 'The Ugly Truth' differs somewhat from other rom-coms in that it's ruder and more sexual in nature.

Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a successful T.V. producer for a morning show in Sacramento. Faced with falling ratings, her boss decides to pep things up by hiring outspoken Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), host of 'The Ugly Truth' a late night show where Mike shares tips and personal anecdotes in an attempt to dispel common 'myths' about relationships. Abby clashes with Mike immediately, seeing him as arrogant, outspoken, chauvinistic and the complete opposite of her idea of the ideal man that she believes she's found in her handsome neighbour Colin (Eric Winter). In turn, Mike thinks Abby is a control freak but his highly accurate insights into her personality further serve to infuriate Abby, and the two bicker constantly. Nevertheless, Mike is a ratings winner which leads Abby to reluctantly accept his advice about how to attract Colin. Mike begins to instruct Abby in what to wear, what to say and how to act around Colin. The plan works and Colin and Abby begin dating but Mike has developed feelings for Abby in the process and is jealous. Sure enough, against her better judgement and in spite of her relationship with Colin, Abby finds herself falling for Mike. Who should she choose?

I really enjoyed this non-demanding film. Other reviews have mentioned Doris Day films, most likely for the'I can't stand him' becoming 'I can't resist him' plot, but in my opinion 'The Ugly Truth' owes more to 'Pygmalion' or 'My Fair Lady' with the creator falling in love with his creation. In this case, Mike 'creates' his ideal woman in Abby and falls for her. Katherine Heigl plays the same nice girl she plays in 'Knocked Up' and '27 Dresses' (but then hey, I like that nice girl and it works for her). Meanwhile, Gerard Butler simply sizzles as Mike, oozing with masculinity and charisma next to the good-looking but rather asexual Colin. You can totally understand that while Abby is attracted to Colin with her head (as he possesses all the qualities she thinks she wants in her ideal man), her heart and body are drawn to Mike. The two leads spar nicely throughout the film and the sexual tension between them continues to bubble before boiling over completely when the two share a sexy dance and afterwards a passionate kiss (two of the best scenes in the film during which you truly believe that these two people are crazy for each other). Plus, the ending was a bit of a departure from the usual rom-com – while you normally see the couple walk off into the sunset together, you hardly ever get to see what they do once they get there if you know what I mean! Loved it.

The other characters in the film were so-so and had little to do as this is very much Heigl and Butler's show, but the chemistry between the two leads was spot on and made the film for me.

I'll definitely be getting this one on DVD.
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6/10
Somewhat amusing but largely unnecessary sequel (may contain mild spoilers)
31 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first film I was eagerly anticipating this sequel, encouraged that the entire original cast were returning (usually a good sign). The result is, at best, a series of somewhat amusing 'sketches' that hang from a rather flimsy plot which adds nothing to the original film. What I was hoping for ideally was a new twist or a big revelation. Instead this is essentially a retread of the original: the exhibits come to life at night (yes, we know). Everything in the Smithsonian will come to life too (as it did back in New York, so what?).

OK, so it's the Smithsonian. Bigger better, more characters, more excuse for special effects e.g. in the Air and Space part of the museum. I think the problem is that the filmmakers were trying to accomplish too much, desperately trying to squeeze everything they could into this film. Consequently I felt that the film suffered from simply having too many characters which left several familiar faces from the first film with little to do. Although the first film was an ensemble piece there was a clear hierarchy to that ensemble. The sequel lacks this. There is no order to the characters and because there are so many of them, little is known about them which leaves the viewer not able to sympathise and not quite knowing where to look or who to root for.

In short, the sequel lacks heart and some of the performances are just plain weak. Even Ben Stiller doesn't seem to have his heart in it this time round, and it looks like he's just going through the motions. Perhaps this is deliberate as in this film Larry is now running his own business which in his heart of hearts he knows he doesn't enjoy but here he is doing something he loves and I for one wanted to see more passion and energy. Poor Amy Adams was slogging her guts out alongside him and her performance as Amelia Earheart was excellent. Sadly there was a complete lack of chemistry between her and Ben Stiller, not helped by Ben's lethargic performance. In addition, much of the film depends on Hank Azaria's character as the villain who is actually not very scary, clever or effective. Hank's trying his best but his character isn't charismatic or funny enough to carry the film this way. They would have been better off making him a true villain rather than a comic relief as the film already has plenty of that.

It wasn't all bad though and some scenes and performances were very funny and very well done. Robin Williams (who I felt was severely underused in this film - they could have given him Custer's scenes as well) was great as usual. Charismatic, sympathetic and inspiring, helping once more to guide Larry to realise his true ambition. Equally, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan as Jedediah and Octavius work very well together and the popularity of their characters in the last film meant that they were given more to do in this (the scenes of Octavius touchingly and gallantly coming to Jedediah's rescue were particularly funny). As we saw at the end of the last film, these two former arch enemies are now firm friends (and are perhaps even a little too close which is also very funny to watch).

The film did have a good ending though with the exception of Larry spotting a certain familiar face in the crowd which felt too forced and 'convenient'. I thought it would have been better to leave things more bittersweet with Larry - he's back in the place he belongs with the people he loves. Surely that's enough.

In conclusion, I did enjoy 'Night at the Museum 2' as the film did have its moments but I won't be rushing to see it again.
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Doctor Who: Blink (2007)
Season 3, Episode 10
10/10
Words cannot express...but I'm going to try!
8 January 2008
I'm going to struggle to say anything that hasn't already been said about this episode. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and will add without hesitation that it is, in my opinion, the best one not only of series three but of the series as a whole.

In London 2007, Sally Sparrow is an ordinary girl with an ordinary life. One night, out of curiosity, she sneaks into an abandoned house where she is shocked to discover a message written on a wall that is addressed to her. It tells her to "Beware the "Weeping Angels" and is signed "The Doctor, 1969". The message leads Sally on an extraordinary journey to help The Doctor and Martha who are trapped in 1969 while avoiding the deadly Weeping Angels, statues that come to life but can only move when no-one is looking.

Many fans are calling this and series two's 'Love & Monsters', 'Doctor lite' episodes and it looks like they're set to become staples of the series. Yet, where 'Love & Monsters' disappoints, 'Blink' triumphs, assisted by a fantastic plot and some great acting led by feisty Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow (I hope we see more of her). The plot is well-crafted and well-paced, and the story bounces along nicely without stalling. Indeed, the only criticism I think one could make, which several people have already highlighted, is that it is quite scary for young children. Particularly the scenes after Sally and Larry have watched the DVD. Nevertheless, I wouldn't say it is any scarier than something like 'Goosebumps', and in fact I found 'Blink' reminiscent of some of the spooky children's serialisations I used to watch as a child - 'Moondial' and 'The Children of Green Knowe' spring to mind.

All in all, a complete success and an episode that anyone can enjoy and one that doesn't require any previous knowledge of Doctor Who.
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Mansfield Park (2007 TV Movie)
Don't bother, it's not worth it
17 April 2007
This is the worst adaptation of 'Mansfield Park' I have ever seen, even worse than the 1999 film version. I struggle to see how it could even be described as an 'adaptation', being only very (and I mean very) loosely based on Jane Austen's plot and characters. At best, this is 'inspired' by the story of 'Mansfield Park' and I'm sorry to say that it's barely recognisable to the original.

I like Billie Piper. I enjoyed her in 'Doctor Who' and do think she is an aspiring actress. However, I'm sorry to say that she is completely miscast as the lead in this, and when I first heard that she would be playing Fanny Price I thought it was a joke. What were the writers thinking? Billie is the polar opposite to her character, both in looks and sensibility. One reason why this novel is so difficult to adapt for a 21st century audience is that the character of the heroine is, by modern standards, incredibly dull. She's a product of the time in which she was written and is meant to be humble, pious, respectful and not in the least bit outspoken or inappropriate. Many modern adaptations feel the need to shake up the story and make Fanny Price more like Elizabeth Bennet which is exactly what they've done here. The writers have also completely disregarded issues of 18th century etiquette and fashion - Billie as Fanny runs around permanently bareheaded (which simply wouldn't have happened then, Fanny would have worn a bonnet in public) and with her hair all loose and flowing (which looks pretty but still wouldn't have happened in the 18th century - it would have been tied up and styled in some way).

But essentially it's the plot that I objected to - where was it? Nothing happened. Also, I'm guessing this must have been a budget adaptation as they could clearly only afford to buy one set. Every happened either in the sitting room or the garden. The ball that is thrown in Fanny's honour in the book is here transformed into a summer picnic on the lawn. In addition, a key event in the story involves Fanny going back to Portsmouth to visit her parents, something that makes her realise that perhaps life at Mansfield Park is not so bad in comparison with where she would have otherwise grown up, and that helps her to discover a sense of her own identity. In this adaptation, Fanny is simply left home alone at Mansfield while the rest of the family go off somewhere, which merely results in her feeling (shock horror) lonely and rejected – and viewers like me suspecting that the producers didn't have much money. What was the point of that? Bravo Blake Ritson. You were the best thing in this and were the only one who bared a passing resemblance to the character you were playing. Other than that, it looks pretty, Billie Piper puts in a spirited performance and it's not unlike 'Cinderella' in many ways. Kids and young teenagers would probably love it, but anyone aged about 15 and over, with even a slight acquaintance with Jane Austen's work would do well to avoid.

5/10.
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Jane Eyre (2006)
9/10
Great adaptation, best one I've seen
6 November 2006
As 'Jane Eyre' is one of my favourite books, I was fully prepared to dislike this series. I have seen two other screen adaptations (the film version with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the TV version with Ciaran Hinds and Samantha Morton), both of which I felt failed to capture the spirit of the story and its characters. While Gainsbourg and Morton's interpretations of Jane were pretty good, Hurt's Rochester was too withdrawn and Hinds' was too gruff and angry.

Yet, in spite of my initial reservations, over all this is the best and most faithful adaptation of Jane Eyre I have seen. My only real complaint was the casting – I felt that Ruth Wilson as Jane was not quite earnest enough and her portrayal was a little too lighthearted, while Toby Stephens, although an excellent actor and the right age for the part, was simply too young-looking and dashing to play the slightly crusty and 'not handsome' Rochester (once again the BBC feels that it must make every costume drama, another 'Pride and Prejudice' and every hero/heroine another Darcy and Elizabeth).

Nevertheless, once I got over that I was able to sit back and enjoy this serialisation of a story I know so well. It was refreshing to see an adaptation that generally stuck so closely to the original text – although this was largely due to the fact that the writers had 4 hours to play with rather than 2 or 1 and a half. There was the inclusion of scenes normally omitted from other adaptations such as the fortune-teller, brilliantly re-imagined here (in the book the fortune-teller was revealed to be Rochester himself in disguise which would have been obvious to any 21st century audience and spoilt the surprise), the scene when Jane draws the portraits of herself and 'Blanche', the scene with Rochester showing Jane his new carriage supposedly for his wedding to Blanche, scenes showing the gradual process of Jane and Rochester's courtship (usually very rushed but here nicely played out) and the decision to make Bertha beautiful and therefore believable as Rochester's first wife rather than as a dribbling old woman as portrayed in other adaptations. Indeed, what was ridiculous in one of the versions I saw was Thornfield Hall going up in smoke as soon as Jane's carriage had left the driveway (with Rochester chasing her down the road), and in another, there was a one second shot of Jane dismissing her class at the school that St John helps her set up, followed by St John coming into the room to ask for her hand in marriage instead of the nicely paced buildup that we are treated to in this version.

At the same time, there was the omission or alteration of certain details of the book that I hadn't expected. For instance, in the book, Grace Poole perishes in the fire at Thornfield but she survives in this version and is servant once more to Rochester and Jane at the end. More crucially, in the novel Mr Rochester gradually regains the sight in one of his eyes but for some reason this adaptation decided to omit this. It's a shame because in light of the rest of the production, I'm certain that had they decided to include this scene (one day, Rochester tells Jane that he can tell what colour dress she is wearing and both are overjoyed), it would have been done very well.

The sexual tension and chemistry between the two leads was incredible and you watch with bated breath as they tiptoe around one another for so long. When Jane rescues Rochester from the burning bed and he wraps his cloak around her and pulls her close, the viewers (well the female ones anyway!) share Jane's tumult of emotions when she returns to her room – trying to suppress her smiles, looking at, holding and kissing her own hand which Rochester had held with such tenacity, and the following day looking permanently flushed and unable to eat anything. Indeed, many of the scenes between Jane and Rochester simply took my breath away. This is the only adaptation I have seen where the passion between Rochester and Jane was so believable. The flashback scenes of the night after the abandoned wedding – which should have been Jane and Rochester's wedding night of course – simply sizzled with intensity. So much so that when we return to the present and Jane breaks down in tears at the memory, I found myself crying in sympathy with her.

When Rochester and Jane are finally reunited, their reunion scenes were perfect and all credit to Toby Stephens' acting – I'm certain even the most hard-hearted viewer had to pause when they saw the tears in Rochester's (now sightless) eyes, and when Jane turns the tables on Rochester for his earlier deceit – he made her jealous with Blanche, she makes him jealous with St John. Moreover, Jane's increased sense of independence (thanks to her new-found wealth and also partly due to Rochester's handicap) is cleverly demonstrated by her initiating the intimacy between herself and Rochester - a contrast to the earlier romantic scenes when Jane was much more passive. Indeed, this reversal of roles is made more evident when they are lying together in the grass in an echo to the night after the aborted wedding – except that this time it is Jane who is 'on top' both literally and metaphorically.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable production. Bravo BBC!
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6/10
Come on, it's complete fantasy and wish-fulfilment but it's fun
8 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
You know what's going to happen in this movie before you start watching. You sit down on the sofa with your bowl of popcorn and tub of Ben & Jerrys (well, you do if you're me) and you just know even before the beginning credits have appeared how it's all going to end. And you don't care. Because you're not here to watch a classic. This is no "Shawshank Redemption", "American Beauty" or "Casa Blanca". This is a typical rom com constructed from a stock recipe, one that you've tasted many times but always enjoy. Perhaps you vary the ingredients a little, maybe add chocolate chips here and there or substitute pecans for almonds sometimes, but ultimately the end product is the same. On this occasion, simply combine "Pretty Woman" with "Four Weddings and a Funeral", add a dash of "American Gigolo" and a flavour of "Cinderella" and you will be left with this film.

As a devoted fan of romantic comedies, I found this movie to be everything I expected. It was quirky, entertaining, amusing, a bit cheesy in places but ultimately pretty good. The casting in particular was perfect. Dermot Mulroney has never looked more attractive in my opinion. There are certain actors who improve in appearance and charisma when they get a bit older - Keanu Reeves springs to mind - and Mulroney is definitely one of those. I didn't think much of him when I saw him in "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Copycat" - he was young, good-looking and had a pretty face but that was it. Age and experience have done wonders for him and in this film he exhibits a charm and presence that was lacking a few years ago.

Equally, the supporting actors - Sarah Parrish, Jack Davenport and Jeremy Sheffield - were all excellent, Davenport clearly relishing his dopey, Hugh Grantesque character, whilst Parrish has a ball as the bitchy cousin and best mate (who has many of the best and funniest lines in the film). Sheffield convinces as a charmer and a bit of a b*****d but is less believable as some kind of irresistible lothario. Nevertheless he carries himself well, while Amy Adams smiles and giggles in an undemanding role.

Debra Messing has the toughest job of making Kat Ellis just the right balance of quirkiness, neuroticism and conscientiousness so that the character appeals to rather the repulses the audience. In every scene she's obviously working her socks off and it shows in comparison to the equally good yet more effortless-looking performances of her co-stars. Ultimately your enjoyment of this film will hinge on whether you want to give Kat a hug or slap her one. Hopefully it's not the latter and you will find yourself caring about the character and wishing her well.

Like I say, this movie is as predictable as they come and if you are prepared to accept this and accept the film for what it is, then you will enjoy yourself. That said, the outcome remains incredibly convenient and pretty unbelievable - the audience is asked to just accept that, of all the women that Mulroney's character has "escorted", he's prepared to give all of them up and that way of life for one woman, Kat. Who, as far as I could tell, was not really any different to any other woman her age and her position in life - same worries, same beliefs, same hangups about being thirtysomething and unmarried etc. There wasn't really anything exceptional about her beyond her natural appeal that put her ahead and gave her an advantage over her "competitors". I think it would have helped to have given Kat more of an edge - perhaps made her more humanitarian or selfless in some way, I don't know - that convinced us that she was a beautiful person and someone that we could believe that Mulroney would choose over his established (and by all accounts, successful) way of life. Yet, it was hard to see this and this in some way slightly soured the experience for me. But I still enjoyed it at the end of the day. 6/10.
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2/10
Truly awful
21 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I meant to hire this film when it first came out but kept forgetting. I finally watched it when it was on terrestrial TV one evening. Am I glad I didn't shell out the money for the rental. It was terrible! I hated the actors (Cameron Diaz was embarrassing, Christina Applegate just looked embarrassed and pouty Selma Blair was very irritating), I hated the characters and I hated the plot (what there was of it!).

The film's one redeeming feature was that it was mercifully short, barely clocking in at an hour and a half. When I watched it (on Channel 5 in the UK) it was just over 90 minutes - and that included advert breaks and a newsflash! Which is a pretty good indicator to just how little substance there was in this film which already contains quite a bit of padding. When it ended I was like, "What, is that it?" It was incredible how little storyline there was and the whole thing played out like an extended episode of a (not very funny) sitcom. It was like someone had written the jokes first and then fit the plot in around them. Prime examples would be Jane dropping off her dry cleaning with the 'shame stain' – a lengthy and largely unnecessary 'comic' scene that contributed nothing to the plot and was a typical ingredient of your garden-variety sitcom – "Wouldn't it be funny if all your family saw you with semen on your dress?", "Wouldn't it be funny if a guy got his penis caught inside his girlfriend's throat and had to call the paramedics? And then all these other people come in and see it, and, and…".

The film was episodic and clumsy, the characters underdeveloped and completely two-dimensional. I found nothing to like and admire about them – in fact I didn't even care enough to hate them! It wouldn't have been so bad if Christina and Courtney had been portrayed as two professional thirtysomething women whose attitude to and string of relationships with the opposite sex are a testament to their maturity and modern-mindedness (ala 'Sex & The City'). Instead, the two of them behave like a couple of giggling schoolgirls which, for two women in their thirties was neither funny nor attractive. Moreover, we have to suspend our disbelief a little further that Christina and Courtney are professional women with careers (I think Courtney's supposed to be some kind of lawyer) which is why the scenes of them acting like imbecilic sorority rejects is so hard to swallow. In short, they're too old for this! It's like, "Grow up already!" Probably the main reason why I was so disappointed with this film was that I felt deceived (yes, deceived) by the publicity. The film doesn't look too bad in the trailers and I was expecting a rom-com from a similar school to 'There's Something About Mary' with the goofy feel-good quality of a film like 'Shallow Hal'. 'The Sweetest Thing' was obviously intended as some kind of reactionary piece to the "boys/men behaving badly" comic ensembles such as 'Porkys' or the 'American Pie' films – a kind of "women behaving badly" or "Look, look! Women can be gross and dirty-minded too!" But it just didn't work and needed more than just Christina meeting Mr Right. How about Christina and her friends growing up and stopping acting like a bunch of irresponsible dumb blondes? I apologise if I've been quite scathing of this film (there are worse ones) but it just infuriates me that such a movie whose only selling point is that it stars three good-looking actresses should be spat out by Hollywood and make it onto the big screen. Very disappointing and not to mention lazy. Avoid!
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Cruel Intentions 2 (2000 Video)
2/10
Unfortunately, another typical sequel
18 August 2005
This film has 'sequel' written all over it unfortunately. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that none of the cast from the original film chose to return (usually a very bad sign), we are treated to the usual mixture of OK, shaky and downright dodgy performances.

Both the actors playing Kathryn and Sebastian lack anything resembling the charisma of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Philippe, and I'm sorry but Amy Adams is awful as Kathryn. Her performance is completely unconvincing and it sounds like she's just reading the lines and forcing herself to look and move a certain way. Looks to me like she didn't want to be in this any more than I wanted to watch it. Plus, I'm not sure how old the actress actually is, but she looked about 35! She's supposed to be playing a schoolgirl but looked much too mature to be a 16-17 year old - making the scene when she's referring to herself as underage and 'a minor' whilst talking to the assistant headmaster unintentionally laughable.

Not a bad idea trying to make a TV series preceding a film like 'Cruel Intentions' - it would be interesting to see what happened to these these two characters that made them so deceitful - but this was just badly written (just a rehash of the original film), poorly acted and on the whole, clumsily executed.

A disappointing 2 out of 10.
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Frequency (2000)
8/10
Great film that takes unoriginal concept and makes it its own (**contains spoilers**)
5 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
'Frequency' is a really good movie, much better than I had expected. I saw it for the first time yesterday and I loved how the film played out. It was like watching two films in one. The first half of the movie, when John discovers he's talking to his long dead father on the ham radio, deals purely with the love between a father and son. Cue many scenes of Frank bonding with both son in present and son in future, full of warmth and feeling that make the viewer think 'Ahh, how nice. This is going to be film filled with plenty of "I love you son', "I love you too Dad" tender moments.' Then suddenly, the film changes direction, from a family drama to an exciting thriller, where John and Frank have to deal with the (inevitable) consequences of their actions.

The idea of 'change one thing, change everything' is certainly not a new one. It has been done before in time-travel films like the 'Back To The Future' trilogy and 'Peggy Sue Got Married', and more recently the (far inferior) 'Butterfly Effect'. All the unexpected surprises are there – John accidentally saves his father's life, which should surely be a good thing except that this sets off a chain of events (naturally!) that in this case leads to the murder of seven women, including John's mother; John and Frank try to put right their mistake, and it seems to be working, up until the point where Frank is arrested for one of the murders. But what is good about this film with its not-unfamiliar plot, is that it resists the urge to go in the direction that the viewer anticipates. When it appears that John and Frank's good intentions are not working, and everything they do just seems to be making the situation worse, I was anticipating an unhappy, unresolved ending, one that certainly involved Frank's death. A sort of 'the only way to put the universe right is for Frank to die again, to make up for not dying in the first place' kind of ending, where the lesson is clear: don't mess with the past. However, happily for me, 'Frequency' resisted this idea, and ended in such a way that it transformed the whole movie into a feel-good experience.

Whilst John and Frank are certainly punished for their actions, incredibly they manage to sort it all out and everybody's happy – although I'm not sure if I agree entirely with the ethics of the subplot involving John turning his friend Gordo into a multi millionaire by giving the 8 year old Gordo the idea for Yahoo! I thought this was rather out of keeping with the rest of the film and the character of John: he has learnt the hard way that it is a bad idea to try to change past events, yet here he is consciously altering the destiny of his young friend's life! Other than that, I'd give this film 8 out of 10.
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2/10
Visual feast but very disappointing over all
27 December 2004
I really had high hopes for this movie. Having been a fan of the games for years and upon hearing the news that they had cast Angelina Jolie in the lead role – who in my opinion looks exactly like Lara Croft - I was definitely looking forward to seeing a live action adaptation.

The only thing I can say is, how disappointing! What happened? I was under the impression that a movie required a plot! Even the games had better, more interesting and more developed plots than this film did! I feel that the big failing of this film is that, with the possible exception of Lara, I didn't care about any of the characters. The villain wasn't particularly villainous, his accomplice (Daniel Craig) wasn't particularly accomplished – and Craig's character's whole history / flirtation with Lara was poorly done, irritating and not the slightest bit believable. Moreover, the sole purpose of the annoying and nerdish Bryce and the toothless Hillary seemed to be that of worshippers - doing everything short of exclaiming "Look how great and wonderful and brilliant the magnificent Lara Croft is" whenever they're on screen. (And they really needn't have bothered, since the movie contains more than enough lingering, Lara-worship camera angles!) My main issue with this movie is how much Lara's self-confidence and self-assurance seems to constantly verge on arrogance. Keeping people at arm's length is one thing, looking down your nose at everyone around you is another. Jolie's portrayal of Lara's confidence in her own abilities comes across as smugness. The hints of Lara's vulnerability when it comes to the memory of her late father, sit uncomfortably next to Lara's complacency during the majority of the film. As a woman myself, I'm all for seeing the portrayal of confident female characters on screen. Yet I feel that Lara's self-possession should have been played down and more attention should have been paid to her insecurities and vulnerable side. This would have rendered Lara more believable and more endearing to an audience.

The overall problem with the movie is that it doesn't engage with the audience. The plot seems to be something of a secret between Lara and her father, and the audience feel left out of the loop which is very frustrating to the viewer. Too wrapped up in ancient history, legend, magic, foreign cultures and traditions, and populated by "I-know-something-you-don't-know" characters, the film is rendered virtually inaccessible to an audience.

Visually stunning, but otherwise a real let-down.
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"Miller's Tale" the best
15 October 2004
All the adaptations of the tales in this series are good, but for me it was the Miller's Tale that was the best. A saucy, sexy story about a smooth-talking conman who breezes into town one day and turns everyone's lives upside down. James Nesbitt positively sizzles in this sexy role as the intelligent and charismatic Nick Zakian who wastes no time at all in setting about seducing the beautiful Alison Crosby (Billie Piper). Nesbitt turns in an utterly convincing performance as Nick, a man who'll stop at nothing and is prepared to stoop to any level to get what he wants - the scene where he corners Alison in the hall or the scene where he stalks across the village square towards Alison with such determination in his eyes when he knows her husband is out of the way for an hour, is enough to drive any woman wild, believe me!

What the audience are supposed to construe from this tale of love, lust, sex, jealousy, deceit and ultimate betrayal is certainly open to debate. There are some who are prepared to claim that Nick is the devil incarnate or the personification of fate in this story. However, I for one refuse to believe that the character of Nick is some kind of tempting devil or fate. Rather that he is an opportunist, a conman, slippery and deceitful.

Yet, watching the Miller's Tale you can't help finding yourself empathising not with poor old John, but with Nick - virtually rooting for him, considering the effort that he is going to in order to secure a few precious minutes alone with Alison.

A sexy, sleazy, bawdy story that is much in keeping with the original tale. I loved it!
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Disappointing...but then it is a sequel
14 August 2004
What can I say about this film that hasn't already been said (or at least thought!)? Unfortunately in the great tradition of sequels, `Return' thought that it could do without a plot, relying instead upon stereotypical characters – mad yet well-funded villain who wants to take over the world; misguided female sidekick who mistakenly believes that villain's aspirations of world domination take second place to her only to be sorely disappointed; beautiful, wide-eyed, eager, yet rather dim-witted heroine attempting to foil evil villain's plans with only beauty, low cut dresses and tireless eye-fluttering at her disposal. The plot (what there is of it) could be summed up in about two sentences. Mad scientist seeks immortality but to find it he needs the blood of shapely step-daughter Heather Locklear, and avoid the vengeful wrath of Swamp Thing. Everything else is just surplus to requirements – in other words, a typical sequel.

I watched this movie and mostly thought how well it would work as a comedy play, with poor special effects, two-dimensional characters, pantomime villains, mediocre dialogue and acting and a plot you could see coming a mile away. Less than five minutes is spent establishing Heather Locklear's character as a plant lover before packing her off to `Daddy' to plant (pardon the pun) a spanner firmly in the works of Arcane's plans – hmm, a green-fingered heroine who seems to prefer plants to people. Wonder what's going to happen when she meets the big green guy - as if I couldn't guess! Meanwhile, Swamp Thing seems to have little to do except conveniently show up whenever trouble is near to bust some heads and blow a few things up. You'd think the swamp was the biggest hotspot in southern USA, the guy never gets a moment's peace during the entire film!

For a bit of undemanding late night fluff (perhaps accompanied by a couple of bevvies) this is fine. Yet, although I never expect much from sequels as a rule, I felt that this film had the potential to be more. It played like the outline of a potentially good idea that needed developing. Yet, unlike it's eponymous hero, it never sprouted into something more. A disappointing 1 and a half out of 5.
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Keaton is superb! (**Contains Spoilers**)
19 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I really liked this film, much more than I thought I would. At first I did find it quite hard to watch though – Jack Nicholson's character leering over girls young enough to be his daughters is quite uncomfortable and seems to verge on paedophilia at times. But I guess that's the point – although it doesn't make it any easier to watch. But once the hesitant romance begins between Harry and Erica, the movie really begins to shine.

As the two characters take their first tentative steps towards one another, I felt that the emotions being experienced by both Harry and Erica were really well portrayed by Nicholson and Keaton and their chemistry was spot on. For instance, the scene in the kitchen when they are making pancakes, you can actually feel the intimacy developing between the two of them. And you share in Erica's obvious disappointment when Marin abruptly returns to break the sexual tension that is starting to build up. Indeed, when Erica quickly excuses herself and leaves once Marin arrives, when she looks towards Harry before departing and looks like she's about to cry with disappointment, I felt not just sympathy but empathy at the emotion conveyed by Keaton's expression. Thus, the latter scenes during the ‘rainy afternoon' had much more meaning and when Harry cuts Erica's turtleneck off, it is like he's releasing her from the cocoon that she has made for herself and she emerges as a beautiful butterfly - indeed, Harry even says, "You're beautiful" at this point.

I felt that the tumult of emotions that Erica experiences during and after her break-up with Harry were superbly conveyed through Keaton's performance. Her cries of frustration and exasperation at Harry's inability to say what he really feels, followed by her alternating bouts of sobbing, screaming, then creative elation to misery and back again whilst writing the play, perfectly conveyed visually what Erica was feeling emotionally. You can totally understand what Erica is going through – a fifty-plus woman who has been single for over twenty years finally lets down her barriers and is freed from her self-made prison by a mature charismatic man, of course she's going to fall for him. To find that he doesn't feel that same way after opening her up that way has got to be devastating for Erica. Thus, I didn't feel that her resulting emotions were in any way unnecessary, but an accurate portrayal of how she must be feeling.

However, the movie does begin to run out of steam towards the end, and although Harry and Erica's reconciliation seems inevitable, I felt that the movie took too long reaching it and not enough time achieving it. When they finally do, the viewer feels relieved, but not that the two of them are reunited, more that the movie is actually over.

All in all, an enjoyable film though. I'd give it 7 out of 10
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Hunk (1987)
Think Bedazzled meets Heaven Can Wait
6 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
**Contains possible spoilers**

I saw this movie late last night and was quite impressed. It does seem quite dated now but is quite good for a low budget movie that focuses on yuppie life during the 80s and is a sad testament to the lengths a guy who is a geek and an outcast will go to just to fit in with the rest of the crowd.

Naturally the story is probably as predictable as they come, but its heart is in the right place with the moral of the story being never be afraid to be the person you are on the inside. Thus, when O'Brien reveals her true self I was a little disappointed to find that she was still beautiful - I imagined the movie might have made its point better had she been a bit plainer and ordinary looking like him. Otherwise it was quite charming, with good performances all round. That is if you can take any movie that features a character calling himself 'Hunk Golden' seriously!
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‘Leopold and Kate'
9 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
**contains spoilers**

This light and frothy rom com is as predictable as they come. It is a true product of the rom com formula of boy meets girl, girl meets boy, everything is peachy for a while before boy loses girl due to some sort of misunderstanding, friends and/or family intervene, boy and girl discover error of their ways and get back together again, the end. This movie is no exception, so do not expect anything original in spite of a little time travelling, because the ‘fish out of water' concept takes a backseat to the budding romance between Kate and Leopold. Now that's established, sit back and enjoy a non-demanding, nonsensical piece of feel-good fun.

Meg Ryan may receive top billing, but believe me it is Hugh Jackman who carries this film. Clearly an intelligent actor, Jackman is perfect as Leopold. Sexy, masculine, charismatic, charming, clever and articulate, with shades of Mr Darcy. In short, he is every girl's dream! How depressing that he should end up with someone as two-dimensional as Kate. Her character appeared under-developed next to Leopold, she was never really given a chance to shine and she spent most of the movie being annoyed with somebody or something, and seemed to be immune to Leopold's charm most of the time – I'm not sure how! Their scenes together were sweet overall, but I thought the chemistry could have been stronger between them.

All credit to Jackman's skill in managing to play the charismatic, and chivalrous Leopold without making him appear effeminate or convoluted which could so easily have happened. He is convincing, but most importantly, still masculine. And he does a fine job! One objection I might make is that for someone who has found themselves 125 years into the future, Leopold gets used to his new surroundings very quickly considering the short time he is there! He is seemingly unfazed by the concept of T.V., phones, cars and modern day music. And the movie neatly avoids any reaction Leopold might have to sticky subjects like premarital sex, illegitimacy, secularisation, not to mention 21st century colloquialism. He has no difficulty understanding the slangage of Kate and the other characters, and all of this is attributed to Leopold's intelligence, his forward-thinking attitudes and his knowledge of scientific advancement. Yet, is this really enough? Ok, so this movie is obviously not supposed to be taken too seriously but at one point, Leopold prepares a sumptuous meal for Kate. Would a 19th century aristocrat really know how to cook? Hmm...

This movie is ultimately about questioning what is important in life and prioritising accordingly. Effectively, Kate has it all. She's just got her long-awaited promotion, and now she's found Leopold. If she could have them both she would. But this just isn't possible. Forced to choose, she follows her heart. Yet despite the happy ending, this movie left me feeling rather unfulfilled, particularly in the last scene. I also wish Kate's 'acceptance' speech could have been better written and more poignant, rather than being along the flimsy lines of 'It's nice to get what you want, unless you find that the thing you thought you wanted, isn't what you wanted at all', which looks doubly clumsy alongside Stuart's touching 'dog and rainbow' monologue and the majority of Leopold's dialogue.

It would be nice to see a sequel to this movie, perhaps entitled ‘Leopold and Kate' that deals with Kate's integration into the nineteenth century under Leopold's tutelage, and perhaps a flying visit to 21st century New York through the newly-opened timehole, to clear up the loose ends! I'll keep hoping!
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See it more than once and have a mental maguerita!
26 September 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I do like this film and it definitely improves on second viewing. It's a laugh from beginning to end, definitely not to be taken seriously and it is very difficult to know what catagory to fit this movie into. Is it a musical? Screwball, slapstick or romantic comedy? Whatever. It's out of this world.

It is not without its flaws or shortcomings, but I would say it is the combined talent of the actors and actresses that hold it together. Geena Davis is totally believeable, as sweet but semi-airhead manicurist Valerie - and yes, that is her singing in 'The Ground You Walk On' -, whilst Julie Brown is great as Candy, a girl who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it! Having spent some time in 'the Valley' some parts of this film were strangely accurate!

The chemistry between Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum was impressive, although - *SPOILER WARNING* - the final moment when Valerie suddenly realises that Mac is the one for her could have been done better in my opinion. And Candy should have gone too!

Take my advice. Switch off your brain and enjoy!
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Screen Two: Northanger Abbey (1987)
Season 3, Episode 7
Well done, elaborate, intriguing adaptation
19 April 2001
When Jane Austen wrote 'Northanger Abbey' she intended to poke fun at the trashy Gothic literature of her day, aimed at silly, young, impressionable females. The story was meant to gradually draw the character of Catherine Morland out of the fantasy world she had built for herself, and into reality. The typical language, characters and themes of a Gothic romance were sent up the whole way through and were shown to be the epitomy of bad writing.

However, this adaptation seemed to embrace and flatter what it was that Jane Austen was attempting to satirise. It retained a gothic feel throughout and seemed to 'put back' what it was that Jane Austen was trying to 'take out'. Northanger Abbey became the mysterious castle, Henry Tilney became the intriguing Gothic hero, and the 'secret' which Catherine believed existed at the Abbey turned out to be real. One cannot help thinking that the makers of this adaptation hadn't read the book very closely as they seemed to have missed the point.

Unfortunately with an adaptation of this type, when Jane Austen was writing she was assuming that her readers would be familiar with the Gothic genre. Filmmakers today would need to explain to the audience what the Gothic genre was all about, explaining why this adaptation contains so many fantastical elements that Jane Austen was attempting to escape from.

All of this aside, it works quite well. The adaptation keeps to the storyline pretty much, and retains much of Jane Austen's witty dialogue. The music helps contribute to the eerie atmosphere very well. One cannot help but wonder at the beauty of this version. Perfectly cast and impeccably acted.
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Laugh out loud funny! Miss it at your peril!
17 April 2001
I saw this film having read the books and the reviews. I therefore went to the movie with an open mind, prepared for cuts and considerable changes to the plot. But if you bear this in mind, as well as the fact that any book written in first person narration will be difficult to transfer to cinema, you won't be disappointed. There is no denying it. It is very, very funny!

It is inevitable that this movie will be compared to 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and 'Notting Hill' what with Hugh Grant being in front of the camera and Richard Curtis being behind, but it is nice to see Grant playing the villain for a change, instead of the floppy-haired sweetheart we've all grown to love. He was the perfect choice for the role of Daniel Cleaver and you can see why Bridget is attracted to him, because he is gorgeous!

Colin Firth was equalling good, reprieving the many elements that he brought to the character of 'the other Mr Darcy' in the BBC version of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". He has a wonderful, quiet charisma about him in this role and I found myself with quite a crush on him by the end of the movie!

I only have a few objections: Not enough scenes with Jude and Shazzer etc. and the direction was a little disjointed. Also, the elaborate fight scene between Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver (which was not in the book) could have been much shorter!

Overall, as Bridget would say, V.G!!!
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Bogus (1996)
C'est tres amusant!
13 April 2001
What a sweet movie! It makes you wish that you were a kid again. I would gladly be seven years old once more if it meant welcoming Bogus in the form of Gerard Depardieu into my life! He was fantastic. The relationship he has with the little boy is touching without being overly sentimental, and he gives the boy exactly what he is looking for - warmth and friendship and is everything a friend (imaginary or otherwise) should be. It brought tears to my eyes one minute and made me giggle the next!

In my opinion, this film is equally entertaining for adults as well as young children, since it reminds us adults that imagination is such an important part of our lives! This film is perhaps reminiscent of "Drop Dead Fred" which sees a grown woman being comforted by her childhood imaginary friend in a time of crisis. But this movie is far, far better done if you ask me.

So for all you hardened adults out there, lighten up! This movie will help you to embrace the child within!
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Jane Austen is spinning in her grave!!!
12 April 2001
What has this movie done to a book as charming as 'Mansfield Park'?! The storyline has been altered until it is virtually unrecognisable! Fanny Price is nothing like she is in the book, the other characters have been equally changed for the worst and as far as I could tell hardly any of Austen's witty prose has been retained!! It seems this adaptation is 'Mansfield Park' in name only.

This is probably the most difficult of Austen's novels to bring to the big screen because the characters are so much a product of their time. Fanny is supposed to be shy, submissive, compassionate and pious. She was never outspoken, headstrong or feisty. In short, she is not Elizabeth Bennet and she never will be. To attempt to portray Fanny in this light is missing the point of her whole character. She is dull and boring by today's standards, but her disposition was admirable during the time that she lived.

I really don't know what the filmmakers were thinking with this adaptation - they probably weren't!! At any rate, it is only because Jane Austen is long dead that they would dare to produce this version. If you haven't read the book you'll probably enjoy it. If you have read the book, don't bother with this. It will ruin your whole experience of the novel.
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Love-Struck (1997 TV Movie)
What a sweet little movie!
12 April 2001
Greek mythology tells us that there was once a beautiful mortal named Psyche whose beauty was such that Venus, the goddess of love, became insanely jealous and commissioned her son Eros to go down to Earth and pierce her with a love arrow. The plan was to make her fall in love with the first creature she sees, and Venus hoped it would be some wretched beggar. Yet when Eros first sees Psyche he is so startled by her beauty that he inadvertently stabs himself with the arrow and thus falls in love with her.

Perhaps this story is the inspiration behind 'Love-Struck' since it bares several similarities. It is a little overly sentimental in places, namely during the scenes in limbo with Venus and Cupid. At other times, I was astounded by the magic of it all! What could be more romantic than having the God of love fall head over heels for you!

OK, so it couldn't really happen, but perhaps this movie will serve to remind people that love can be magic and is a kind of magic in itself. Believe me, after this film, you will want to be 'Love-Struck' again and again!
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OK Romantic Comedy
8 March 2001
I thought this movie was pretty average as romantic comedies go, and frighteningly similar to Meg Ryan's previous vehicle "French Kiss", which saw Kevin Kline playing a Frenchman she falls for, enroute to getting her cheating fiancé back. "Addicted To Love" could have easily been the sequel! That aside, my one objection is not only the lack of chemistry between the two leads, but also the fact that we are launched into the action far too quickly. One imagines the writer/director desperate to start the story and not being bothered to establish the relationship between Sam and Linda, before BOOM! She leaves him and Sam is in New York, all within a few minutes and seconds. The credits had barely finished!!

I found the character of Maggie difficult to get a grip on. Independent and wilful, one finds it hard to imagine what she sees in the dappy, love-sick puppy, Sam. They are in such completely different leagues. Sam quips that they got together via "Common interests", but this is not enough somehow, since the characters really do not have anything in common, despite trying to separate their ex-lovers.

**SPOILER WARNING**: In another scene, Sam and Maggie sleep together whilst fantasising that she is Linda and he is Anton. Yet Maggie's justification for sleeping with Sam is not made clear - she hates Anton and frequently says so. If she slept with Sam because she was falling for him this should have been made clearer, since he sleeps with her whilst pretending she is Linda whom he still loves. Although good, perhaps this scene could have been cut as it is confusing and largely irrelevant.

The rest of the film was OK, the pranks were cruel but effective. More focus should have been made on the relationship between the two leads.
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