Posts Tagged ‘Romantic Comedy’

MOVIE: New in Town (2009)

November 24, 2009

newintownIt’s obviously no big secret that I have  a serious weakness for Harry Connick Jr. So, when Mom and I were scoping out vids for our pile the other weekend and stumbled across this one — added bonus of being set somewhere snowy, which we love — there was really no resisting it.  Yes, I knew it was a romantic comedy.  Yes, I don’t typically go for those (unless they also involve zombies, of course).  But when you get a good one, they can be really fun.  And you know what?  This one is a good one.

The story is your fairly traditional “fish out of water” type thing — it reminded me a lot, actually, of another favorite of mine, Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard’s Baby Boom.  In New in Town, Renee Zellwegger plays Miami businesswoman Lucy Hill, who, as the film opens, is living up her fast-paced lifestyle with a jog in the warm Florida morning before work.  She then changes into a sexy skirt-suit with serious high heels and heads into work, where she’s promptly told the company is sending her to Minnesota — in the dead of winter — to oversee the downsizing of the corporation’s food processing plant in the tiny town of New Ulm.

Armed with eight suitcases of completely inappropriate clothing, Lucy gets off the plane in New Ulm to discover a whole new, thoroughly frozen world.  There’s a great shot here, actually, set at the baggage claim in the airport, where the camera pans down to focus on everyone’s feet — boots, boots, boots, boots, what the HELL are you thinkin’, lady?!

New Ulm is different in other ways, too.  Her new secretary, Blanche Gunderson (the always awesome Siobhan Fallon) is a frumpily-dressed, scrapbook-loving, tapioca maniac.  The plant manager, Stu Kopenhafer (the also always awesome J. K. Simmons) keeps doing things to exploit her city-girl naiveté (closing the plant for the fictitious “Gopher Day,” e.g.).  And then there’s the head of the union — truck-driving, beer-guzzling, unshaven, plaid-wearing Ted Mitchell.  Only Ted — well, Ted is played by Harry Connick Jr.  ‘Nuff said.

The story follows the standard trajectory for these sorts of films and there’s nothing all that original about it.  But what makes this one stand out is that it is truly, authentically charming and funny.  Zellwegger is great in this sort of role — think the opposite of Bridget Jones but played with the same sense of humor — and Harry Connick Jr., SAY NO MORE.

Mom and I both really enjoyed this one and I think any fan of the genre or any of the actors will love it too.  Recommended, and a great one if you’re looking for something to watch with family of all ages over the holidays!

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Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cast:  Harry Connick Jr., Renee Zellweger, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Siobhan Fallon


MOVIE: 27 Dresses (2008)

August 28, 2008

You’re not going to believe this, but I just spent two weeks on vacation with my mom and I only watched ONE MOVIE. The reason for this? My sister was there with us too, and now that she’s a mom herself, she comes bearing gifts: a 2 year old and a six-month old, to be specific. If I have to choose between watching movies or eating blackberries in the backyard with my nephew while my niece lies on a towel, plays with her own feet, and periodically interjects a well-timed, “ya ya ya ya!”. . . well, the choice is clear.  (Confidential message to Dukes:  Would you LOOK at the SIZE of THIS one!)

In any case, because my sister was there too, the one movie we did end up watching was, naturally, a romantic comedy. I have to confess, I probably never would’ve rented this one if it hadn’t been for my sister, which is merely another in an ever-lengthening list of reasons why older sisters rule (note: she’s only older by five minutes, so don’t be too impressed): they always get their younger sisters to do things they probably never would’ve gotten around to otherwise. Like get married, buy a house, sign up for Dish Network, spend $800 on a digital camera, and watch thoroughly entertaining romantic comedies like this one.

The premise of this movie is as predictable as rom-coms always are – one of their most endearing qualities, actually, is that they are so often so very much the same. It’s about a young woman named Jane (Katherine Heigl) who is, as the saying goes, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” In fact, she’s been a bridesmaid exactly 27 times, and she’s saved every single one of the dresses because she is so, SO very insanely in love with weddings. But when she finds out her younger sister is about to get married — to the very man she’s in love with herself (her boss, coincidentally named George but thankfully not as much of a feckless dweeb as Heigl’s George on Gray’s Anatomy — sorry, T.R., but I spent most of last season wanting to kick you in the shins) — she finally snaps.

There to watch her total meltdown is a reporter whose beat is the “Commitments” page in the New York Journal. He writes about weddings, in other words, and Jane has been a huge fan of his for years. But when she realizes he’s the guy who has been wooing her — the guy who keeps telling her how lame he thinks weddings and marriages are — she’s absolutely incensed. And, as it so often goes in rom-coms, that means she’s destined to fall head-over-heels for him.

Yes, predictable. But also surprisingly funny and sweet. And though at first I wasn’t sure I could really see Katherine Heigl and James Marsden as a couple, by the end of the film I was definitely rooting for them to get together (which is more than I can say for the pairing of Heigl with Seth Rogan in the utterly-disappointing Knocked Up). I myself am married to a cynical and cantankerous newspaper reporter, and they have their own special charms that only those of us who know them well can appreciate.  So, I found myself able to relate to this movie, even though I’ve only been a bridesmaid once and my dress was totally awesome.

I definitely recommend this one if you like sweet movies with happy endings. Or if you too have heard the phrase, “And if you shorten it, you can wear it again!” one too many times in your life!

Very fun!

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Genre:  Romantic comedy
Cast:  Katherine Heigl, James “Cyclops” Marsden, Malin Akerman, Edward Burns, Judy Greer

MOVIE: No Reservations (2007)

July 31, 2008

Romantic comedies aren’t usually my thing (unless, of course, they also happen to feature zombies, as in Shaun of the Dead, a zom-rom-com). But I’d been wanting to see this one for quite a while now. It had three things going for it: Abigail Breslin, who I have loved since she wouldn’t drink the contaminated water in Signs; Catherine Zeta-Jones, who has the eyebrows I have always wanted; and the fact it’s about chefs. Though I’ve somehow managed to get WORSE at cooking with time and practice, but that doesn’t I greatly enjoy watching OTHER people work magic in the kitchen. And I’m a pretty mean baker despite the fact I can’t even correctly make rice — IN A RICE COOKER — these days.

Oh wait — there was a fourth reason I wanted to see this movie! I’m always interested in seeing just how bad Aaron Eckhart’s hair is going to be. Love the guy, think he’s adorable, but he’s totally tied with Stephen Baldwin as reigning master of the absolute most unflattering hair styles of all time. Worse hair, I dare you to find.

Happily, I can report that Eckhart’s hair was the best I’d ever seen it in this movie. SUCH a huge improvement over his ‘do in Paycheck, which was the very epitome of Calvin on Picture Day. To wit :

In No Reservations, though, he sports the casual/mussed look, and it works extremely well with his laid-back, friendly, swoon-inducing character.

I can also report that while there were a few things I felt could’ve been better about this movie, both my Mom and I really enjoyed it. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Kate, an executive chef who is supposedly quite tyrannical in the kitchen, though I confess I found Zeta-Jones was a bit weak on this mark in the beginning — she wasn’t really all that tyrannical, and her staff always smiled wistfully when she’d yell at them, as though they thought she was super cute when she was mad. Didn’t QUITE work.

Things are going smoothly for Kate, or so she thinks, when suddenly her sister is killed in a car accident, leaving her young niece Zoe (Breslin) with no home and no parents. Kate immediately takes Zoe in, despite the fact she knows less than zero about kids, as evidenced by the gourmet meals she keeps trying to feed to Zoe (like a whole trout, head, eyes and all!). Things between the two of them are a bit rocky — until Nick shows up.

Nick (Eckhart) is a sous-chef brought into Kate’s kitchen by the restaurant owner (Patricia Clarkson) to replace one of her other staff who is heading out for maternity leave. At first, Kate can’t stand him — he’s too charming, too loud, too relaxed. Then she kinda likes him. Then they fall for each other. Then she gets mad because he keeps trying to improve her kitchen. Then they break up. Then they get back together again. Then there’s a happy ending.

It’s as predictable as romantic comedies always are. But it’s also sweet, entertaining, and extremely fun to watch.

Are “entertaining” and “fun to watch” redundant? Methinks they are. Methinks I don’t care, though.

All in all, this was a very pleasant way to spend two hours with my Mom. I think my sister would really like this one too (hi, Marni!). And if you’ve seen the original foreign-film version of this (I think it’s called Mostly Martha), please post your opinion in the comments below and tell me if you think I would like it too? Merci!

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Genre: Romantic comedy
Cast: Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart and his thoroughly acceptable hairdo, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson