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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

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.