I hate writing reviews for movies like this because I have to: a) admit to seeing it and face ridicule from my male friends who detect a drop in my testosterone; and b) profess to really liking so-called “chick flicks” and women’s movies in general, while, at the same time, bashing this one. Here’s the reason I wanted to see this movie: the director, P.J. Hogan, made My Best Friend’s Wedding, a witty, stylish romantic comedy. Let’s just say lightning didn’t strike twice.
Isla Fisher stars as a city gal with an expensive addiction. Her credit card bills become so dire, she cons her way into a job as a fashion writer with a gift for Finnish culture.
The movie thinks it’s a satire of materialism, but really it’s a celebration of it and a world record candidate for having the most product placements in film history. It’s liking watching the Home Shopping Network with a plot.
Fisher is a sunny, try-anything-for-a-laugh physical and verbal comedienne and she gets some real laughs out of this desperate material. The running subplot about her dodging a bookish collection agent and a scene where she assaults her dance partner with a fan get chuckles entirely because of Fisher’s hardworking performance, but she can’t overcome material this flimsy. John Lithgow has a small supporting role as a company big wig; he’s one of our greatest living stage and screen actors and one who rarely does movies anymore, which makes his nothing role all the more of a letdown. Kristin Scott Thomas, Joan Cusack, Fred Armisen, Lynn Redgrave, Julie Hagerty and John Goodman are cast in roles that define thankless and are completely wasted.
Action movie guru Jerry Bruckheimer is the film’s executive producer, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. He was also behind Coyote Ugly, which was equally slick, heartless, dumb and degrading to women.
I went to this movie with two female friends. They both said it was made for women, noted all the ladies in the audience who laughed throughout the screening and simply dismissed my negative opinion as immaterial, since the movie wasn’t intended for men. I couldn’t disagree more.
Women love good films tailor-made for men, just as I know many guys who loved Sleepless in Seattle. A great movie is great no matter who the filmmakers intended the audience to be.
I’m giving this movie one star for the one thing in it that’s worth seeing: Isla Fisher’s performance. She has oodles of talent, but her work is mostly eclipsed by one bad, cringe-inducing scene after another. MTW