Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Going the Distance & Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur)

OK, the good news is that I have a double header today:  I’m reviewing not one but two good romantic comedies.  The bad news is that they’re both leaving theaters tomorrow (at least in Center City).  So, you have one night left to catch them, or suffer and wait for DVD.  Don’t worry, they’ll most likely be out by year end.
Going the Distance
If you had told me two months ago that I'd be writing a sterling review for a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, I would have told you to stop smoking Crack and come back to reality.  Well, here I am doing just that.  I only saw this film because I was invited to a free advance screening on a Monday night, courtesy of the Philadelphia Film Society.  And like many Monday nights (and Tuesday nights, and Wednesday nights, etc…) I had nothing better to do so I figured how bad could it be?  But it was honestly one of the best surprises of the year.  (Of course, my expectations were LOW).
'Going the Distance' is your typical romantic comedy, with the leads played by Barrymore and Long, struggling to make a long distance relationship work.  Long plays that guy who before meeting Barrymore just won’t commit to one girl.  Barrymore plays that girl who’s tired and has no patience for typical jerky male behavior.  But then they meet and fall in love.  Of course, due to their ambitious careers they are forced to live on different coasts and still try to make things work.  Sounds boring, right?  Well it’s actually really good, and I give most of the credit to the writing, although I suspect the director also deserves credit too.  The dialogue is really very clever and the characters seem real, unlike in most romantic comedies.  And I also, surprisingly, enjoyed the supporting cast including Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan, playing Barrymore’s sister and brother-in-law, respectively.  Yes, yes, I’m surprised too.  But this is just an example where the total is greater than the sum of the parts.
Maybe I was just in the right mood, but I’m giving this a …
Grade: B+

Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur) 
So, apparently I love French comedies.  And we all know the French are known to love Jerry Lewis.  So, by the transitive property, I think I must love Jerry Lewis.  (Hmm, I’m not sure if my math is right on that one, but … ummm … ok … awkward.)
In any event, I saw this movie at the TriBeCa film festival back in April and totally loved it.  It’s probably the best romantic comedy of the year, because unlike many of them, this one is actually really funny.
The plot is simple:  Two self absorbed siblings break couples up for a living.  But things don’t go as smoothly when they are hired by a rich father who doesn’t approve of his daughter’s fiancé.  He gives them one week to break them up.  Difficulties ensue, and so does comedy.  And if you loved 'Dirty Dancing' there's a scene you're sure to appreciate.  See it!
And if this film gets you jazzed up for more French comedy, may I recommend ‘The Valet’, ‘My Best Friend’, ‘Priceless’ with Audrey Tautou, and ‘The Dinner Game’ (upon which the Steve Carell/Paul Rudd comedy ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ was loosely based, but is much better.)
Grade: A

1 comment:

  1. See everyone likes some schmoop every now and again =)