Monday, March 30, 2009

I Love You, Man

Yesterday I saw I Love You, Man, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal.

We all know men like realtor Peter Klaven (Rudd): good looking, well-groomed, straight guys who surround themselves with armies of female friends, but lack severely in the 'dude' department.

We also know men like Sydney Fife (Segal): fun-loving, independent bachelors who are left behind after all of their buddies graduate into marriage and fatherhood.

What a genius idea to bring these two characters together.

The stage is set with Peter, madly in love with Zooey (Rashida Jones), proposing to her in a romantic city setting. She excitedly accepts his proposal and the wedding plans are thrust into motion. The only small problem is that she has several attendants and he doesn't even have a best man.

So...he tries to find one, by going on "man-dates" with random guys he's set up with by family and friends (Jane Curtain is a great cast bonus as his mom). After many comical attempts, his best man soul mate appears at one of his open houses (when he's "not looking" as true love usually appears) and changes everything.

Instead of Peter's world revolving around Zooey, it begins to revolve around Sydney, because he's never enjoyed such a friendship before. While she's happy for him at first, of course jealousy does eventually set in and both relationships are put in jeopardy.

Aside from a few unnecessary "gross" scenes involving vomit and a dog relieving itself, this was a very refreshing, cute movie with a host of appealing characters.

Rashida Jones shines as the likable finance, Jon Favreau is hilarious as an angry husband of one of Zooey's friends, and Andy Samburg plays the groom's openly gay brother in a realistic, non-stereotypical way.

If you need a laugh, check it out.


On Saturday, I saw Duplicity, starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts.

It was the topic of Cinebanter #68, which is available here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Class

Tonight I saw The Class, starring François Bégaudeau.

It will be the topic of Cinebanter #67, which will be available March 30, so tune in then for our review.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Today I screened Sunshine Cleaning, starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

Rose (Adams) is a maid, a single mother and a mistress. Her job is dead-end, her son Oscar (Jason Spevack, a dead wringer for the kid in Love Actually) has issues in school, and her married boyfriend is her former high-school sweetheart.

Her sister Nora (Blunt) is less responsible, less balanced, and also has employment challenges. Her father (Alan Arkin), a loving grandfather with his heart in the right place, is a failing salesman.

Life could be better for this family.

One day after Rose and her boyfriend are finished making love in a seedy motel, he tells her of a thriving business he's observed through his own work as a detective: crime scene cleanup. He figures with her experience cleaning houses, she could easily transition to this higher-paying enterprise, and he'll help provide the connections she needs to get started.

Before long, she's enrolled in bio-hazard sanitation classes and has enlisted the help of her sister to act as her sole employee. Because she has a knack for business and an infinitely positive attitude, Rose soon launches the successful Sunshine Cleaning.

All goes well in the first weeks of business (those who are squeamish like me: beware of the first few crime scenes they clean up), then a plot twist, which is completely believable, changes the game for the whole family.

The ending draws to a satisfying close and leaves you hoping that the path the family is on will continue.

Everyone in this film does a superb job of playing their part (even if Alan Arkin's character is just a reprise of his role in Little Miss Sunshine, minus the porn), and hopefully the vastly underrated Amy Adams will finally step out of her "innocent girl" typecasting with this role.

Sunshine Cleaning is a lighthearted drama brought to life by a competent and complementary cast. It feels, sounds and looks like real life.

Go see it.