Carol and Lydia went to the Poconos with Carol’s parents, one of her brothers, his wife, and their twin daughters a couple of Saturdays ago. Carol came back on Wednesday because she had to work on Thursday, but Lydia stayed. So Friday night, we felt almost obliged to see a movie. For one thing, it wouldn’t cost anything for a babysitter. For another, said babysitter is getting married in two weeks, so she might not be available for a while.
So what to see?
Scott Pilgrim is at the mall that I dislike, and it’s supposed to move to the local theater soon. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky I knew nothing about, Winter’s Bone seemed too intense for date night, and Inception started too early, and Dinner for Schmucks too late. It came down to Eat Pray Love, and The Switch, and since the latter not only reviewed better (52% positive vs. 38% on Rotten Tomatoes) but was also considerably shorter, we went with that.
Remember the wisecracking friend of the Meg Ryan character in Sleepless in Seattle? That role here is played by Juliette Lewis. Or the Mark Feuerstein function, playing the confidant to Mel Gibson in What Women Want, now provided by Jeff Goldblum. Or the whole “friend zone” thing, which is the entire premise of When Harry Met Sally; Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston reprise Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (again). Plus a character in most romcoms for whom one says, quoting Joe Jackson, “Is she really going out with HIM?”
Add to this the Big Unsustainable Lie that has fueled sitcms from I Love Lucy to Frasier to The Office. Actually, LIES, one of which you can discern by merely reading the summary of the film, and without which there is no story at all.
Yet, oddly, we mostly enjoyed the film. Part of it is that relationship between Bateman and…Goldblum, whose interactions are among the funniest in the film. I also loved the chemistry between Bateman and Thomas Robinson, who plays the little boy who is NOT immediately adorable like that kid in Sleepless in Seattle, but who I related to at some level.
So if you have NEVER seen a romantic comedy, you’ll probably like this one. But if you have seen a few, you may appreciate the fact that the acting, especially of Bateman, plus some touching moments, salvages the often by-the-numbers script.
Oh, and I’ll never think of ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, thanked in the end credits, quite the same way again.