I am a fan of chick flicks. Some of my favourite films are romcoms. I am not a film snob by any stretch of the imagination (compared to books, which I am quite snooty about).
So, keeping the above fact in mind, please trust me when I say – do not go and see No Reservations. I made this mistake last night and it left a nasty taste in my mouth that even a meal in our favourite restaurant couldn’t shift. Our emotions had run a gauntlet of anticipation, mild irritation, outright disbelief, and horror that cumulated into a begrudging acceptance of our situation. We’d both thought of leaving half-way through, but stayed put from a misplaced sense of politeness. Never again.
There are many people to blame for this disaster of an evening, but I take responsibility for some of it. I usually do my homework before I head to the cinema, but I saw a poster for the film and noticed that Aaron Erkhart was in it, of Thank you for Smoking fame. He had played a complex character in the aforementioned film so well that I had kept an eye on his career since. So if he was in it, it couldn’t be so bad, right?
Wrong. Here are some examples of why this film is utterly awful.
- Every line uttered plumbed the depths of cliché hell.
- The characters were as well-rounded as cardboard cutouts.
- It’s supposed to be a comedy – I didn’t laugh once. And I still think schoolyard jokes are hillarious.
- Note to the writers: you're supposed to use those ‘How to Write a Romcom’ book guidelines as a jumping off point, not as a blueprint. However, the fact that I could predict the plot ‘twists’ meant that I could pinpoint how much time was left with uncanny accuracy.
- Unfortunately you must have missed out an essential chapter in the above book, because most scenes were either impossibly slow or jumped around with the logic of a frog on speed.
- Michael Douglas has nothing to worry about. There was absolutely no chemistry between Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart. When they argued/flirted/kissed within this Romcom by numbers, it was a complete snoozefest.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character was completely unlikeable. I actually preferred her nemesis, her boss, and regarded her as a saint for even employing a person who had no personality whatsoever.
- Regardless of what her character was going through, Zeta-Jones looked utterly blank. Perhaps she was sleepwalking - trapped in a taxbill-paying nightmare. Which I then had to sit through last night. Cheers.
- The little girl in the film was on automatic too. Her relationship with Zeta-Jones' character was as unconvincing as my Aussie accent. (stone the crows, you're a flaming galah, etc)
- In fact, Aaron Eckhart was the only actor who actually seemed awake, but to his detriment unfortunately. His character was hyperactive, irritating and deeply unfunny. If I met him in real life I’d be forced to throttle him. And everyone he'd ever met would gather around and cheer me on.
- Another note to the writers: two montages do not an adequate character development make.