High Fidelity

"Good"

High Fidelity Review


There's nothing more annoying than a music geek. You know, the kind of guy who hangs out in record stores reminiscing about Camper Van Beethoven, Stereolab, and the roots of Green Day.

As such, a movie full of music geeks may seem a little unbearable, and in a lot of ways, High Fidelity is. That it manages to often redeem itself is the biggest surprise in the movie, and not for the reasons you might think.

Let's start out with what doesn't work. For starters, purist fans of Nick Hornby's novel will be disappointed to find their favorite record store moved from England to Chicago. John Cusack's Rob is, of course, not British -- he's a typical Yank with a perpetually broken heart. Rob spends much (or all) of the film narrating to the screen, as if the moviegoer is in the room with him, wherever he goes. This gets old, awfully fast, quickly losing its charm and becoming obvious as a crutch used to mask lazy, sloppy writing.

Rob is also as shallow as they come. He lives his life like a Billboard chart. Everything is a "top five," and the movie centers around his current girlfriend Laura (the fittingly unknown Iben Hjejle -- her real name!) leaving him, thus entering the charts as his #5 Heartbreaker.

The problem isn't really Rob's shallowness; it's that Laura turns out to be pretty worthless as well. Hjejle clearly has no chemistry with Cusack, and her character has no redeeming qualities either except that "she smells good." (And you have to take Cusack's word on that.) On the road to getting Laura back, Rob visits the rest of the top 5 heartbreakers -- including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lili Taylor, but nothing really comes of this. The song of Rob's life remains utterly the same. (There's even an inexplicable fling with Lisa Bonet of The Cosby Show fame, particularly ironic since the 80s standard is mocked elsewhere in the film.)

Fortunately, throw Jack Black (best known as Matthew Broderick's friend in The Cable Guy) into any of the above scenes and it becomes a laugh riot. You will forget about the rest of the movie (think Empire Records grown up) when Black struts his stuff. The man should kill Adam Sandler and takeover his life as a real comedian. Demure newcomer Todd Louiso, like Black an employee in Rob's record store, provides excellent counterpoint to Black's over-the-top character. Literally, the scenes in Rob's store are so funny they make you forget about the rest of the film.

A hilarious supporting role by a pony-tailed Tim Robbins notwithstanding, that "rest of the film" is pretty much a drag. It's uniformly shallow and vapid, and the reliance on Hjejle (imagine Mia Farrow with a bad haircut and a language barrier) to carry a lead role was a fatal error for High Fidelity's producers. All the talk of avant-garde bands may make you envious of the boundless musical knowledge these guys possess. Or, like me, you may just want to skip to the tracks you like.

Cusack pouts, Black punches.



High Fidelity

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st March 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $47.1M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Buena Vista, Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 149 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Rob Gordon, as Laura, as Dick, as Barry, as Marie DeSalle, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Charlie Nicholson, as Liz, as Ian 'Ray' Raymond, as Vince, as Justin, as Sarah Kendrew, as Penny Hardwick, as Caroline Fortis, Shannon Stillo as Alison Jr. High, as Rob Jr. High, Laura Whyte as Laura's Mom, as Anaugh, Rich Talarico as Barry's Customer, Matthew O'Neill as Beta Band Customer (as Matt O'Neill), Brian Powell as Middle Aged Customer, Margaret Travolta as Rob's Mom, as Himself, Jill Peterson as Laura's Sister Jo, as Minister, Susan Yoo as Girl - 19 year old, as Paul, K. K. Dodds as Miranda, as Alison's Mom, Duke Doyle as Kevin Bannister, Aaron Himelstein as Boy In Park, Jonathan Herrington as Chris Thompson, Daniel Lee Smith as Rock Guy, Leah Gale as Mourner, David Darlow as Mourner, Erik Gundersen as Marco, Alex Désert as Louis (as Alex Desert), Alan S. Johnson as Man In Store, Ian Belknap as Party Guest, Andrew Micheli as Party Guest, Polly Noonan as Party Guest, Philip Rayburn Smith as Party Guest, Michele Graff as Party Guest, as Party Guest, Liam Hayes as Piano Player, Damian Rogers as Greenday Girl, Robert A. Villanueva as Skateboarder, Joe Spaulding as Flea Market Musician, Scott A. Martin as Bartender, Heather Norris as Laura's Friend

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

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.