Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Life Less Ordinary

I like Danny Boyle, even if I didn't especially like the previous Danny Boyle directed entry in this big thingy. I like him because he's not afraid of doing all sorts of crazy things, whether or not they fit within his comfort zone. He made his name with Trainspotting, the premier movie about heroin enthusiasts. He won his Oscar for making an uplifting tale about an Indian kid winning a quiz show, which I haven't seen yet. He tried a zombie film, he's tried science fiction, and he's tried this, whatever this is.

The movie is about love. Love between a mismatched couple forced together by the whims of a cruel god, and his completely insane angels Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo. The man in the couple is Ewan McGregor, an awful novelist who is also a janitor. The woman is Cameron Diaz, spoiled socialite who is more than a touch insane. McGregor is replaced by a robot, Diaz shoots a prospective husband in the face, and they come together to defraud her father out of millions, and the angels bring them together with the power of violence and robbery. Ah love, what a thing.

This movie was a notorious flop, but I enjoyed it. This is odd, because the characters actually aren't very likable. Diaz is impulsive and immature, McGregor is the world's worst kidnapper, and a weak and ineffectual person. Together, they are a whiny couple that is constantly bickering and disagreeing with each other. Diaz helps McGregor become a better kidnapper, but kind of a worse person, and her character doesn't develop at all.

So yes, there are flaws, big glaring flashing neon signs flaws, but I liked it. I liked it because it's funny. Sure, the characters aren't particularly likable, but they belong together, two extremely unlikable characters together to not sully up the lives of anyone else. Truly, they do belong together.

I also appreciated the pure power of Boyle's filmmaking. You're tricked into caring about what happens because of the ridiculously pretty cinematography, the fantastic soundtrack, and the often clever editing. He can make you temporarily forget about how technically unlikable everyone is, just by making the events become suddenly entertaining. If anyone else tried this script, it would have been terrible - B. Monkey, for example, is actually surprisingly similar plot-wise, but is utter shit.

I won't pretend that it's a great movie. Certainly, it failing should not have been unexpected. But, honestly? I was entertained for two hours. I laughed at some of the clever lines and some of the clever slapstick, I enjoyed some of the clever filmmaking, and I was genuinely entertained by the events taking place. More importantly, it seemed like everyone was having fun with the film, and fun with their characters. A bad script, perhaps, but I honestly am glad I watched.

Bless you Danny Boyle, I look forward to the next one of your movies I get to see, even if I didn't like your zombie picture.

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