Aug 24, 2008

TV Dinners

I watch bad movies on tv. Don't ask me why. They are like donuts. To be fair, they are not exactly bad, not Star Wars prequel bad anyway, more like exceedingly mediocre. Take for example I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It is supposed to be a light comedy with a heart and a lesson about tolerance. Instead it's a fluff, fluff, fluff with a bunch of cliches and a whole lot of who-gives-a-frak. Leave it to Hollywood to make a story of a supposedly contraversial subject matter (depends on who you talk to) dull. If it was a French film the two guys would probably realize that they were really gay all this time. That would certainly give the plot a more interesting trajectory. Alternately Pedro Almodovar could have done some interesting things with it.

Or there is No Reservations - a romantic dud. Despite of two good looking leads, a talented and not overly cute child actor, there is not a single spark in sight. There is zero chemistry between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, but you can't really blame them, the script doesn't give them much to build on. Then there is the "serious" angle of the dead sister and her orphaned daughter. Heavy stuff, right? No. The film is carefully skipping on the surface appearance of emotions, as to slyly let us know that there is serious stuff going on here, but careful not to actually burden us with it. I find that insulting. If you don't want to deal with realistic portrayal of grief, just find a less dramatic way to temporary dispose of the sister. Send her to jail, Paris, or a biosphere, wherever. It's just a plot device, improvise.

My biggest beef however was with the portrayal of the kitchen. There is this supposedly very busy New York Restaurant and its kitchen has the atmosphere of a day spa. An assisted living facility during the afternoon nap time is more frantic then this kitchen in the middle of a dinner rush. I wonder what Anthony Bourdain would have to say about that. This anemic, phony kitchen is the perfect symbol of this dumb movie, made by people who have no idea of what they are talking about, and lack the imagination to fake it.

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