After watching (500) Days of Summer, and it making me real mad, the door was opened to watch what I considered a better film that did the same kind of thing, looking at a doomed relationship and what all that actually means, but from the female perspective. And DING DING DING I finally got the chance to pull out my favorite Chick Flick. Hence, today’s review.
This movie is a chick flick. There is no way around it. (500) Days of Summer did not have that distinction to fight against. And the title, marketing’s decision, is awful and says nothing about the film. And if you get your hand on a DVD of it, the back of box blurb is completely awful. And look at that poster up above. It doesn't tell you ANYTHING! What a worthless poster with a worthless title. But if you can make your way through all the sabotage, what you find is a movie that I find to be legitimately great, with excellent themes, acting, direction, and writing.
Ashley Judd plays Jane, an important backstage person getting line-ups for a midday talk show Diane. She works with Eddie, played by Hugh Jackman (in his first screen role, I believe) and new character, Ray played by Greg Kinnear. Jane and Ray start a relationship, one that is doomed from the start, and out of that, she creates a theory: the New Cow Theory. And things kind of start to roll out of control from there, both in her personal life and in her professional one. I don’t want to give too much away here, because it is actually a pretty interesting and well-earned plot progression.
Oooo, plot progression, whatever film nerd. It's a chick flick so it has to be immediately disregarded.
The strength of the film comes from the really incredible acting and writing. Kinnear, Judd, and Jackman just do incredible work here, especially Judd. And all the second tier characters and actors are also great: Marissa Tomei, Ellen Barkin, Catherine Dent, and Peter Friedman, all excellent. We watch over the course of almost a full year these relationships grow, blossom, die, change, and just come across as incredibly grounded and believable, while still being able to be heightened and enjoyable for film.
The flick isn’t perfect. But I don’t think it made any choices that were bad or poorly-thought-out. I think it succeeded in everything it tried to do, and in most ways it did it even better. I highly suggest this film, just remember, even if it is the best of the genre, it is still that genre, so it might be a slightly hard pill to swallow.