Flirting with Disaster -1996-

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Directed by David O. Russell. 92 mins.

Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on DVD)

If you like your comedy neurotic and GenX-cellent, you’ll be in hog heaven. David O. Russell’s screenplay is fast, funny, and never seems like it’s trying too hard to be hip. Unlike Little Miss Sunshine (another on-the-road indie comedy whose characters felt like they were air-dropped into the same family moments prior), most of the characters in Flirting With Disaster are broken into couples. The chemistry between these characters is so real that it’s easy to believe that they’ve driven one another to such heights of zaniness over long periods of time.

The movie’s success is in no small part due to the fantastic casting (Brolin and Jenkins are hilarious, and Tomlin and Alda, of course, feel perfect together). Plus, it’s always good so see a movie where Ben Stiller plays a person, not just an extended sketch character.

(Watched and originally written during Summer 2010 when I was on a real movie bender)

Love, Actually -2003-

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Directed by Richard Curtis. 136 mins.

Worth my time? No. (Watched on DVD)

Ah, this was a disappointment. Despite the title (and a few genuinely sentimental moments early on), there isn’t a whole lot of actual, convincing love on display here. The absurdly bloated number of story arcs doesn’t make up for the lack of compelling narrative (you think that people would realize that it’s the fatal flaw of ensemble movies, but apparently not). Of course, with each story comes a hokey climax, one after another, that pummels the audience with “aww…”.

Between all that and the long running time, you could do a lot better with romantic comedies. At least is wasn’t American, though.

PS: If your movie is centered around a holiday, and ends with a big musical production (but is not a musical or a concert film), it probably won’t be that good.

PPS: Bill Nighy is easily the funniest part of the movie.

(Watched and originally written during Summer 2010 when I was on a real movie bender)