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dir Josh Gordon, Will Speck
scr Allan Loeb
prd Albert Berger, Allan Loeb, Bradley Thomas, Ron Yerxa
with Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Thomas Robinson, Caroline Dhavernas, Todd Louiso, Scott Elrod, Kelli Barrett, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Edward James Hyland
release US 20.Aug.10, UK 1.Sep.10
10/US Miramax 1h42
best pals: Bateman and Aniston
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A slightly more serious take on the rom-com, this film benefits hugely from its likeable cast even though the script lets frequently them down. But at least it's dealing with some meaningful topics along the way.
Kassie (Aniston) is a professional woman in New York who has given up waiting for Mr Right and starts looking for a sperm donor. This rather unsettles her best friend Wally (Bateman), who has always had a crush on her but was afraid to tell her. When Kassie finds the perfect man (Wilson), her plan moves ahead, but Wally drunkenly makes a last-minute switch. Seven years later, Kassie returns to New York with her little boy (Robinson). Wally realises what has happened, but he's even more afraid to break the news now.
The plot has definite possibilities, but screenwriter Loeb seems even more frightened than Wally to confront the realities involved. The dialog constantly circles around the edges of the subject matter, as if the movie was being made for the easily offended parents of pre-teens, while the plot turns get increasingly cliched. And poor Bateman has to deliver some painfully annoying voice-over narration.
Fortunately he's as charming as ever on screen, so the directors continually play up his boyish, puppy-dog appeal. But screenwriter Loeb gives him a contrived excuse for his transgression, which undercuts the whole film. Aniston is enjoyably bland as the same character she usually plays. Robinson is terrific as the pessimistic, hypochondriac boy. And things are livened up considerably by wacky best pals played by Goldblum and Lewis, plus Wilson's superbly intense-but-shallow action man.
So it's a shame the filmmakers strip away all of the story's edges and drift instead into hamfisted sentimentality. Clearly, this could have been a scruffy little independent like Lars and the Real Girl or even a larger offbeat comedy like Little Miss Sunshine. But no, it's a safe, slick, relatively watchable bit of fluff that's neither bold enough to provoke us nor funny enough to make us laugh more than a few times. But it does have its moments, and it leaves a smile on our faces.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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