It takes quite a special film to do something exciting in a runtime of less than 90 minutes. Most likely. any film that doesn’t have enough story to pass the 1 hour 30 mark just won’t have a lot to offer. But, as I’m still off with my schedule when it comes to watching films, any film that doesn’t break 90 is always going to appeal. On Sunday, I once again found myself needing to watch something quickly to review today. Since the pandemic hit, I really have lost my desire to watch films. I need to try and get back into it soon. I’m missing out on so much. Until I do, I guess I’ll just be stuck watching short animated films on Netflix. At least I’m watching things that I wouldn’t have normally seen.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t put much effort into my film choice for this week but things haven’t gone as I expected this weekend. Being incredibly exhausted and pretty busy was a terrible combination. So, when it came time to watch something, I was mostly looking for something quick and tat didn’t require any real effort. At one point, I’d considered watching the Snyder cut of Justice League but I wasn’t capable of concentrating on something for over 4 hours. Especially something that I didn’t enjoy enough the first time to really want to watch again. Instead of Snyder, I turned to Netflix and found the least appealing film that I could find. The fact that it ran to just under 90 minutes was just a happy bonus.
I have only seen Coming to America once before. I watched it as part of my Throwback Thirty series during my 30th birthday blog celebration. I know that there is a lot of love for the film but it didn’t really do much for me. It’s sad that in 2021, its all-Black cast still feels so ground-breaking. It’s also important to note how important the film was and still is in terms of Black art. It’s not that I’m dismissing its entire existence. I just didn’t really think it was that funny. So, I wasn’t exactly overjoyed to hear that a sequel was coming to Prime. Was I still going to watch it? Of course. Did I think I’d enjoy it? Not really.
I have to admit to something, I never got round to watching Uncut Gems. Phew, that’s a weight off my chest. At the time that it was really doing the rounds, I was desperately trying to watch all of the Oscar nominated films and, unfortunately, it was totally ignored by the Academy. I always intended to catch up but it never happened. Not because I didn’t think it would be good but because it just seemed so heavy. I mean this year is heavy enough. The reason I bring it up is because Uncut Gems could very well be the reason that Hubie Halloween exists. Before awards season kicked off, Sandler made a vow that he would make the worst film possible if he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. 10 months on and another Netflix original hits us. So, was it really going to be the worst of his vast and often uninspiring career? There was only one way to find out.
As I suggested in my review of How to Build a Girl, there was an obvious choice for a companion TBT film. Almost Famous is a clear bedfellow for Caitlin Moran’s coming-of-age tale. The only problem is, I never want to watch Almost Famous again. I know that I’m in a tiny minority of people but I really don’t get what the fuss was about. It just seemed a bit too overindulgent and facile. It was pure Hollywood and didn’t really speak much to me or my experiences. I don’t understand why people adore it so much. So I needed to find an alternative. I went for another Kate Hudson film. Not one I was any more excited to watch but one that I could at least sit through. Handily, she plays a journalist who tries to get ahead by being unnecessarily mean. Oh, and it has “how to” in the title. Not a bad companion film after all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Robert Downey Jr. as much as the next person but, let’s be honest, he’s been playing the same character for years now. The actor was getting his career on track during the early 2000s but it wasn’t until Iron Man that he really became a person to watch. Since that point, it’s kind of felt that we’ve been getting the same thing in almost every film. He’s basically just playing a hyped-up version of himself. The major difference between his Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes is a hundred or so years. Now I think RDJ. is a great guy but there’s just no surprise any more. When you see that RDJ is in a cast, you can be pretty sure about the kind of character he’s going to play. Yeah, I understand that Dr Dolittle is a pretty odd guy but he’s inherently British. He’s described in the books as a well-respected and quiet man. Not an absurd comic figure of fun. I just couldn’t see how a big Hollywood adaptation with RDJ in the titular role would work as well as the classic 1967 film did. But I was willing to be proven wrong.
When we were teenagers, my friends and I were the biggest Eurovision fans. We got together every year to watch it. We made scorecards and were really clear about what we were looking for in a winner. It was one of the major popular culture events that we really looked forward to. I bloody loved it. Then, a few years ago, Eurovision started taking itself a bit too seriously. Countries suddenly wanted to have good quality songs and think about choreography and staging. It really ruined the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of weirdos on there and some of the staging is fucking insane. Yet, something is missing from it. Eurovision was always mocked for being campy and silly but that was why we loved it. Now it’s had the X-Factor treatment and people seem to be using it as a platform for a singing career. So, I have to wonder why Will Ferrell is setting his sights on it now. It feels as though this film should have come out at least 10/15 years ago. I didn’t want to watch it but I felt I owed it to my past self.
After the travesty of Love Wedding Repeat on Tuesday, I wasn’ quite sure to go with today’s TBT review. In the end, I decided to give Dean Craig a second chance. His Netflix film was his directorial debut, so it’s entirely possible that he just got a bit overexcited. I’d never seen any of his other films. I remember the 2010 remake of this film coming out and having absolutely no interest in seeing it. But would I have an interest in the original? It wouldn’t be the first time America had taken a British concept and destroyed it.
As we’ve seen in the past few Tuesday Reviews, I’m not a fan of Netflix comedies. What I’m even less of a fan of is romantic-comedies. What I’m even less of fan of than romantic-comedies are quirky romantic-comedies based around weddings. So, a Netflix original quirky romantic comedy based around a wedding really wasn’t the film I was desperate to watch. Under normal circumstances, I’d have pretended that this film didn’t exist and go on my merry way. But this is the “new normal”. We have to get used to a new way of life and maybe that includes not ignoring everything that looks really shit?
There’s a point in Love Wedding Repeat where it looks as if we’re about to go back and replay all of the story again but with one element slightly altered. When that moment arrived, I was almost sick at the thought of having to sit through everything again. Thankfully, it doesn’t go quite that far but it should tell you everything about the first half of the film. Was this the first comedy film that Netflix got right? Not at all. What we get is a very uninspiring and overused premise. Somebody clearly thought that this film was going to revive the rom-com tradition that Richard Curtis made work for him in the 90s but, instead, this is just embarassing. It has a feel of Steven Moffat’s Coupling about it but it has the terrible writing and boring storylines of Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner for Doctor Who.
Love Wedding Repeat is actually a remake of a French film, Plan de Table. It takes us to Rome and the day that Hayley marries her Italian fiance, Roberto. When an old flame of Hayley’s turns up ready to ruin the wedding, she asks her brother, Jack, to help out. By giving him a dose of her potent sleeping drops. Jack puts the drugs into Marc’s empty champagne glass. Unfortunately, a group of meddling kids move the names around so everyone is in different seats. Instead of Marc, Hayley’s actor friend, Bryan, is drugged. This means Jack can’t concentrate on flirting with Hayley’s American friend, Dina, who he met in Rome 3 years ago but failed to make a move on. Instead, he has to run around preventing Marc dropping a bombshell and making sue Bryan doesn’t make a fool of himself in front of a famed Italian director.
The central idea for this film is how many possible paths there are to take in life. The knowledge that it takes a certain chain of events to end in one particular moment in time. Just take the 8 people sat around a table at a wedding. They could be arranged in thousands of different ways and each one would cause a different outcome. Life is about taking chances and hoping that it’s the right one. Through several brief glimpses of alternate timelines, we see that very few of the arrangements of people at the table will lead to a happy ending for the newly married couple. Love, we are told, can be derailed by the slightest thing. So, the message here is that love is kind of meaningless and just comes down to chance, right? Or are we being told that such tiny odds means love is all about fate? I don’t know and I doubt anyone making this film knew either.
It feels like this film didn’t really have a plan besides the create an ensemble farce that takes place at a wedding bit. Love Wedding Repeat has the air of a much more intelligent film but it’s just stupid. It doesn’t even know how to be funny and has to rely on dick jokes and people slipping roofies into champagne. This kind of story should write itself but it’s gone horribly wrong somewhere. There are a few sort of funny moments and some strong-ish performances. However, the majority of the actors are just dull and flat. And let’s be honest, even though I was glad we didn’t properly repeat the narrative a bunch of times, the way the film gets around it is sloppy and adds nothing to the plot. It’s a waste and it makes it hard to see what the point of that motif is.
Remember when Deadpool came out and Olivia Munn made a really bitchy comment about how she turned down the role of Vanessa because she didn’t want to play a girlfriend again? She wanted to fight and not just be eye candy. Obviously, she went on to play Psylocke and we know how that turned out. But, watching this film, I have to wonder what she thought she was signing up for with this film. Her role as Dina is the definition of eye candy. Yes, there is a moment where they try and give her a tragic backstory but it’s never presented with any weight. Nobody involved in the film, either in reality or on screen, gives a shit who Dina is or where she comes from. She’s just there for slow fuzzy zooms on her beautiful face. Although, it might explain why she didn’t want to play “the girlfriend”. Her lack of chemistry with Sam Claflin here suggests she wouldn’t be able to sell it.
I’d be tempted to suggest that Love Wedding Repeat is one of those Netflix films that was purposefully made to be as bad as possible. The ones like A Christmas Prince where the streaming service relies on word of mouth to get people to watch it. They know people love shit films so they continually knock out cheap and shit films so people criticse them on social media. But I’m not actually sure that’s what is happening here. For one thing, it’s not as over-the-top in its shitness as most of their films are. For another, this film lacks that self-awareness that the majority of their romantic-comedies have. Someone, somewhere clearly thought that they were onto a winner here and I don’t see why. There’s is nothing funny nor particularly romantic about this film. It’s not so bad that you remember if after you’ve seen it. I can still remember almost everything that happened in A Christmas Prince but I had to Google so much of this film. I only saw it yesterday. Netflix is really scraping the barrle with this one and that’s saying something.
I had Monday off this week because of a hospital appointment. Officially, I didn’t need the day off but I thought I’d do it anyway. After all, taking the morning off and going in the afternoon would make me sad. So, I basically had a free day. I decided to take the opportunity to get another book read this week. I say read but, really, I mean listen. I’ve decided that audiobooks are going to help me get my reading groove back. Getting another chance to get through a whole book in one day means I’m back on track with my numbers and gives me a bit longer to finish my current read. It takes the pressure off a little. I’ve never been a massive fan of audiobooks because I find that I get distracted too easily. This is still a problem but I’m getting better. And being more exposed to them is helping me see the positives. There are certain books which just work better as an audiobook. Let’s not forget Lincoln in the Bardo which was one of the greatest listening experiences I’ve ever had. Then there are books that really need to be read out by the author. Like Nomad from last week. This is another one. I’ve never been a huge fan of celebrity memoir/self-help style books. It’s just not my thing. But I like Miranda Hart and wanted to give this a go. And it wasn’t like I had anything else going on today.