12 September 2004 | vchimpanzee
Even Russell Crowe is entitled to a clunker
Steve is a photographer, Monica is a teacher. They don't get along. So it's time for them to break up. Watching two people try to break up for nearly two hours (fortunately, that included lots of commercials) is not my idea of entertainment. Unless they are funny, which these two generally were not.
The film showed promise. At the start, both characters are talking to an unseen interviewer or counselor, or maybe just to the camera (they also talk just to the camera in a later scene). They are giving good performances at that point. Then things go downhill quickly.
The film was not a total waste of time.
The best part of the movie had Steve and Monica doing what appeared to be a documentary, shot in black and white, where they interviewed ordinary people on the street about male-female relationships. These people seemed real and may in fact have been real (they certainly weren't shown in the credits). One little girl said the best thing to do with a man was 'dump him in the garbage'.
Also good: a sequence of fantasies about what the wedding might be like, inside a church, involving a demented minister, an Einstein lookalike, and Steve and Monica both lying on couches with a psychiatrist between them.
Salma Hayek looked good in a swimsuit. Too bad that was only in a fantasy (Steve's, actually) where a Fabio type with Schwarzenegger muscles was bench pressing her.
Several scenes had really good music, most of the good music being real jazz. There was also 40s-style easy listening. And then there was contemporary music that didn't appeal to me at all. (Well, what can you expect when the man in charge of music led Devo?) One scene was spoiled for me when the trumpet and the stand-up bass were cut off prematurely when the couple started bickering again.
I'm not sure what this meant, but several sequences other than the 'documentary' were filmed in black and white with no dialogue from the characters on screen. Two had quick editing and gave the impression of quality. One had Steve and Monica in a restaurant with a series of different dates, in what appeared to be just a few minutes as the camera went back and forth between them.
The only way this could have been a good movie is if it was in fact one of those art films that appeals to the people who go to coffee houses and listen to poetry. I'm not one of those.