Hugh Grant returns to the romantic comedy genre in "The Rewrite". Here's Matthew Eng to break it down for us in our Yes No Maybe So way
• Marisa Tomei
• Marisa Tomei
• Marisa Tomei
• Let me say it again. Marisa. Tomei. I’ll take her wherever I can get her, and I’d watch The Rewrite if only as a dolled-up delivery system for the most undervalued Oscar-winning actress working today. Why active, actress-friendly directors like David O. Russell and Woody Allen have yet to scoop her up and make a comedic muse out of her is totally beyond comprehension. She’s moving, miffed, and magnificent in Love is Strange, giving a pitch-perfect supporting performance, in the purest sense of the term. And she seems to be serving up her usual best here (i.e. rich, relaxed, and revealing character work) and top-lining (!) the damn thing as Hugh Grant’s older screenwriting pupil/inevitable love interest and she also seems to have a scene where she adorably re-creates the “Born to Hand Jive” scene from Grease with two little girls, and so for that and for My Marisa, I’ll be there.
more and the trailer itself after the jump...
• And hey, there’s Allison Janney doing her great stern-and-staunch authority figure thing! She’s never not a welcome presence, and between this and that Emmy-flaunting Mom and Masters revival, it’s nice to know she’s still being appreciated (and employed).
• J.K. Simmons, probably Allison Janney’s male equivalent, is here too, seven years after making such a casually charming pair with Janney in Juno? Sure, why not!
• That early October release date signals a movie that by all rights should be a calm, comforting breather before heavier Oscar fare comes racing through theaters.
• “Blunt, piggish, past-his-peak cad with lagging career and gross chauvinistic streak (“I’m just a little tired of female empowerment”) debases himself by entering new field and new community with low expectations, meets Great Gal (in this case a “smart, funny woman full of fire and honesty”), and must prove/redeem himself and overcome “spiritual vacancy” in order to Win her” isn’t exactly the freshest start.
• I enjoyed the hell out of Two Weeks Notice and Music and Lyrics just as much as anyone possibly could, even though the former pivots around a catfight between two grown women in their place of work and I might not totally remember any actual scenes from the latter in the slightest. That being said, writer-helmer and frequent Grant-collaborator Marc Did You Hear About the Morgans? Lawrence is hardly a director worth getting out of bed over, so the draw here was always bound to be actor-driven.
• That dizzy, celeb-obsessed ditz (“MATT DAMON?! OHHHMYGOD!”) could very easily wear out her welcome in a couple of scenes, yeah?
• The reviews for this could definitely be anywhere between ho-hum and hideous, and besides, isn’t this the sort of movie you wait until the HBO premiere to actually watch, rather than spending $14 bucks on?
• Hugh Grant’s had such glorious, surprising chemistry with a whole bunch of romcom royalty (Julia, Sandra, Drew) and even survived Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral. I admire his pretty wily willingness to play up this over-the-hill moment of his career, to the extent that they’ve even re-purposed some old, affable, floppy-haired Golden Globes acceptance speech in this. He alone isn’t reason enough for me to see anything, though, and this looks like the exact opposite of the type of “stretching” that an actor should probably be undertaking within the third decade of his celebrity (not to mention the fourth of his career). But Grant is more often than not a diverting and appealingly self-deprecating performer, who I never begrudge seeing on screen.
• Screenwriting’s such a routinely bastardized form, and thus so ripe for parody, that this could be an interesting conceit. Or it could just be whatever untapped profession was picked out of a hat.
• Marisa’s a magician with even the slimmest notion of a character (see, most recently, Crazy, Stupid, Love) but this genre’s track record for female love interests speaks for itself. I’m hoping this role isn’t as badly underwritten as it very well could be, but then again, I wouldn’t be too surprised.
• Is Caroline Aaron always the male protagonist’s straight-talking agent, manager, or mother in these movies, or does it just feel that way?
Right now, I’m an on-the-fence Maybe So, whose Marisa Tomei loyalties are pushing him more and more towards a reluctant but extremely possible Yes.