Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Summer re-runs: Romcoms

My best friend's ugly proposal ... 

The heat has finally hit London, and I am having a season of summer revivals and some newies too, just to have a change from that summer of sport about to hit us. Let's start with some romcoms. I am not really a romcom person - I don't rush to the latest Jennifer Aniston or the latest LOVE ACTUALLY rip-off.  I did like those romcoms for adults like Vanessa and Franco in LETTERS TO JULIET or Meryl and Alec in IT'S COMPLICATED, as per reviews here (Valentines label), and I also covered those recent smart ones like CRAZY STUPID LOVE and FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS.

I did though sit happily through MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING again the other day - I enjoyed this at the cinema back in 1997. I never really got the Julia Roberts love - I didn't care for PRETTY WOMAN for starters - and had no interest in most of her movies (MARY REILLY - I don't think so...) but I get it here, she is quite adorable and looks perfect with that hair and the mouth etc. Her character isn't pretty likeable but she makes us like her even more. The plot is too well known to re-hash here, but she and Dermot Mulroney and Cameron Diaz as the even more adorable Kimmy are all note-perfect and there are some great set-pieces.
The locations are great and it all looks marvellous in widescreen. Have I left someone out ? Oh yes, Rupert Everett on tip-top form re-defining the role of the Gay Best Friend, in fact I understand the role was extended for him and he simply runs away with the picture. That restuarant scene where he leads the singing of Dionne's "I Say A Little Prayer" is one we can watch over and over, as perfectly realised by P.J. Hogan (of MURIEL'S WEDDING). Love too Rupert's delivery of those lines, like to the mother of the bride: "love the bag, love the shoes"  .... the whole movie is full of endearing characters, and that final dance at the end is simply just perfect. "There will be dancing" indeed.

I saw 2009's THE PROPOSAL on a plane but found it engaging enough to get the dvd - and again its quite a pleaser as Sandra Bullock has to get married to avoid being deported! - Ryan Reynolds is her hapless assistant and its amusingly played out. Sandra scores heavily here - and we have Mary Steenburgen and  Betty White back at Ryan's home in Alaska where Sandra gets her comeuppance and it all ends satisfyingly. Some scenes like where the dog was picked up by an eagle and Sandra was chasing it around trying to get her phone back are simply hilarious.

I finally got around to THE UGLY TRUTH, also 2009, which I just couldn't work up much enthusiasm to see, but it went ok following all the usual predictable detours around our main couple. It may be Gerard Butler's best role as it suits him perfectly and Katherine Heigl is new to me, she has that disconcerting resemblance to my '40s favourite Linda Darnell. This is probably the ideal chick-flick which ticks all the boxes: all the women are unpleasantly uptight and work in either television or media, where, in spite of being successful and attractive, they all see themselves as tremendous failures because they don't have a man. The men of course are all coarse and juvenile yet somehow still manage to attract beautiful, accomplished women that in reality would be well out of their league. And, of course, women are expected to change all of their less attractive traits to attract men, but men are to be accepted for what they are. Not much change there then from the days of Katharine Hepburn in WOMAN OF THE YEAR or Bette Davis in JUNE BRIDE ... our silly heroine too goes all to pieces when the new guy next door drops his towel when she falls out of the tree while gazing at him - she has a nice cat though. 

I see Nicole's MARGOT AT THE WEDDING is in the schedules for tomorrow night, not a romcom per se perhaps, but it may be an amusing antitdote to romcom ideas.....

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