วันพุธที่ 18 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2552

she's the one (1996)

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After his great success writing, directing, and starring in the low budget flick THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN, Edward Burns is back. This time he has a Hollywood bankrolled film, but he keeps his comedic sights set on his favorite subjects: Catholic male angst, infidelity, and most of all, sex - particularly the lack thereof. Given that most of the cast leads return, you can excuse the audience if they think the film is THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN PART 2. Actually, this time the story is different and the brothers have changed their last name to Fitzpatrick.

As the story unfolds, brothers Mickey (Edward Burns) and Francis (Mike McGlone also his brother in BROTHERS 1, I mean in THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN) are verbally sparring with their dad (John Mahoney from PRIMAL FEAR and THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT) on their regular fishing trip. The dad ridicules them by calling them girls, and they generally trade one-liners with each other.

The one-liners are both the strength and the weakness of the film. Burns has millions of them in his head and having no self-control puts all of them in the script. Some work, and some don't. The ones that do are terrific and the main reason to see the picture. Unfortunately, one-liners do not a relationship make. The characters are all interesting individually, and yet none are compelling or involving. With life reduced to one-liners, they have no way to develop a chemistry with each other or with the audience.

Francis is a chain smoking stock broker worth a lot of money. He even has a limo to drive him to work everyday. Poor Mickey is just a Brooklyn cab driver, but claims to be happy. Francis taunts him with, "Big deal, you're happy. You're never going to make any real money."

Francis is married to his work. When his wife Renee (Jennifer Aniston) wants to have sex, he tells her basically to take a number. He is too busy right now working in bed with his laptop. He is also having an affair with fellow stock broker Heather (Cameron Diaz who was so great as Jude in THE LAST SUPPER).

One day, Mickey picks up a fare appropriately named Hope (Maxine Bahns from THE BROTHERS McMULLEN), and they get married the next day. Francis thinks this is stupid, and chides him with, "Romance is great, but I just want to remind you, it don't pay the bills."

Mostly the show ignores religion other than talking about the unseen Mrs. Fitzpatrick's daily church attendance. One time, however, when their dad thinks something happened that the church would not approve of, a perplexed Mickey inquires, "Why are you getting so upset Dad? You don't even believe in God." The angry father snaps back, "That doesn't mean I'm going to stop being a good Catholic."

All in all, the show is an enjoyable but shallow little comedy signifying nothing. The one-liners frequently work, and actors are good, but trapped in their material.

My favorite is Cameron Diaz, who has extremely captivating eyes. Based on her work in THE LAST SUPPER, she is probably the most talented of the lot. Mahoney is a fine, but colorless supporting actor. The others have promise, but the jury is out. Here they did an excellent job of reading their jokes and entertaining me, but none of them were convincing.

SHE'S THE ONE runs a fast 1:36. It is rated R solely because they use the F word a few times. This is much tamer show than this year's PG-13 rated THE NUTTY PROFESSOR which was non-stop foul language, but used every cuss word except the F word. In SHE'S THE ONE, there is no violence, no nudity although there are a lot of missing bras, and no sex although they do talk about it incessantly. It would be fine for any teenager. I give the show a mild thumbs up as it was funny in parts and entertaining, and award it ** 1/2.


Ed Burns' follow-up to The Brothers McMullen(1995) again works the territory of the romantic dilemmas of Irish-American brothers, but without the charm or credibility of his previous film. Burns and Francis McGlone play the brothers, respectively, a cab-driver and a stock-broker. The director throws them into a story full of improbable situations and characters, and artificially cranks up the hostility level. It's typical of Burns' world that, although both brothers are either married to, engaged to, or involved with apparently fabulous women, they seem to prefer fighting with each other to paying attention to them. John Mahoney as, their self-absorbed, trouble-making father appears to be at the root of the problems. As usual Burns comes up with some very funny one-liners which still sound true to life, but sadly, the same can't be said for the film as a whole. Burns himself is sharp and charismatic here, sometimes reminiscent of a young James Caan, and the overly intense Frances McGlone complements him perfectly. Mahoney is also completely convincing as the kind of character who many from the New York and Boston area, and possibly elsewhere, will recognize instantly. Maxine Bahns, who has the best of the three badly-written women's parts is a non-actress, Cameron Diaz is saddled with an unbelievable role, and Jennifer Aniston is forced to make the best of her one-note part. ~ Michael Costello, All Movie Guide


A Strange Syndrome

Perhaps it is just a personal gripe but when directors rehash the material that has recently garnered them accolades and attention it makes me lose interest in their work. For those who saw The Brothers McMullen prior to this film there are few if any surprises and yet another "too cool for school" performance by writer/director/actor Edward Burns.

All in all I like the movie, it's funny, it's sad and often it feels quite true to life. It's far from perfect and it does steal quite a bit from its predecessor but I think She's the One has a good heart and for me that goes a long way.