Alex And Emma

"Weak"

Alex And Emma Review


We've seen enough romantic comedies to know how the formula works -- guy gets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back. Because these films are so ridiculously predictable by nature, a successful romantic comedy will have to masquerade its obvious intentions behind a story that leads us to the obligatory ending in an unconventional way. And for two thirds of director Rob Reiner's Alex and Emma, the story cleverly disguises what we perceive, and gives us every indication we're witnessing something fresh. Unfortunately, the final third reverts back to the conventional, and the film falls dramatically short of its potential.

Alex Sheldon (Luke Wilson) is a budding novelist suffering from a severe case of writer's block that is holding him back from starting his book and getting the paycheck he desperately needs. Alex's debt collectors have given him only 30 days to complete his novel, collect the money, and pay of his gambling debt. Otherwise, Alex's life story will come to an end. Almost out of options, Alex convinces stenographer Emma Dinsmore (Kate Hudson) to quickly translate his thoughts to the written word. The story Alex tells pertains to a 1920s romantic triangle between grade school tutor Adam Shipley (also played by Wilson), the beautiful French matriarch (Sophie Marceau) of Shipley's charges, and the family au pair Anna (Hudson).

Alex and Emma is surprisingly effective early on as it seesaws between scenes of Alex and Emma bouncing story ideas off each other for the love affair they are writing. In time, numerous parallels begin to develop between the romance on the page and the budding real life relationship of Alex and Emma. For example, Hudson plays Anna in their story; this is not a coincidence. However, in an overtly obvious and completely unnecessary drive to help us weave the two romances together, Reiner gives us an obligatory "date" scene where Alex and Emma spend the day together strolling around Boston. When do they have time for love when the novel is due in one day, and Alex's life is at stake?

Once we finally reach the guy-loses-girl conflict, Reiner toys with us even more by inventing new characters and new directions for his film to take - just as Alex does with his novel. Of course, it also doesn't help that the character development is so thin that we never really have a sense for any of these characters. The last ten minutes of Alex and Emma are excruciatingly long as Reiner looks for the most satisfying, Princess Bride-like way to get himself out of the film's convoluted conclusion.

If Reiner had let the parallels between the past and present run their natural course, instead of force-feeding us, the ensuing romance between Alex and Emma would have been far more sweet and enduring. Wilson and Hudson hint at a possible chemistry, but this effort is severely undermined by Reiner's plot mechanics. Instead, a clever storytelling ploy is crushed by the preconceived notion that we can't figure things out for ourselves. Alex and Emma is insulting to our intelligence, and in my mind, both stories need significant re-writing.

Reiner and Wilson offer a joint commentary track on the DVD, the film's sole extra.

How to write a script in 10 days.



Facts and Figures

Budget: $30M

Production compaines: Franchise Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Alex Sheldon / Adam Shipley, as Emma Dinsmore / Ylva / Elsa / Eldora / Anna, as Polina Delacroix, as John Shaw, Paul Wilson as "Whistling" John Shaw, Chino XL as Tony, as Bobby, as Polina's Farther, as Andre Delacroix, as Michele Delacroix, as Wirschafter, as Madame Blanche, as Claude, Francois Giroday as Croupier, as Bus Driver, as Grandmother, Earl Carroll as Bernard Pompier, Michael Rapport as Casino Owner, Danica Sheridan as Receptionist

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.