30 December 2005 | move_over_fatso
Aiiiee, almost no reviewer here quite gets it ...
1) There is no action in this movie. If you need *something*, then avoid this movie like the plague. And while one may think to themself, "dayam, those actresses look fine", there are no gratuitous skin shots. Its not a movie like "Honey", where you turn off the volume and just stare at Jessica Alba.
2) Its not really about the End of Disco (despite the title). The soon to be dead Disco era is a BACKDROP for the theme of the movie. Casablanca was not about WW II. It was a romance movie, and the War was a backdrop. No one bitches about the authenticity of the airplanes, uniforms, historical details of the politics or legal procedures, or portrayal of the Moroccan culture. Yes, I wish the filmmaker was a bit more zealous about period dress and music. Oh well. And while there are reminiscent touches, its not a movie who's focus is dedicated to capturing the Disco period. If what you want is an homage to Disco, then you won't like this movie.
3) It IS a "Coming of Age" movie. It is about vapid, just-out-of-college Americans starting out in the real world. The movie mostly skewers them, but I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia and loss for a period of life that will never come back to me (early twentysomething). I strongly suggest you avoid the movie if you're under 35. You do not need to have lived through the disco period to appreciate the movie, but you do need to be an old fogey. Definitely a movie for adults, in the non-NC17 way.
4) The actors put on superlative performances. They were portraying vapid, witless, bland, soon to be full-blown yuppies. The time period is perfect for reflecting on the contrast of soon-to-be-over perceptions of life and the world from youth to early adulthood. You can almost see their worldview evolve within the one(?) year time period of the movie. There's nothing sucky about the acting. The characters are mostly sucky people; that's why they seem wooden, vapid, and lame. (And Kate Beckinsale does an AWESOME American accent; because she's British, and there isn't a hint of her native tongue.) Yes, their dancing seems lame, because the general public are generally lame dancers. People did not break out like John Travolta on the dance floor every night. Its not a movie about dancing.
5) One should be appreciating the dialogue from a detached distance, and be struck by its wit and humor. Not living through these people in a first person perspective. This is for people who can appreciate reading James Joyce, Harold Pinter, or Evelyn Waugh, or any great novelist/playwright who doesn't beat you over the head (usually with a voice-over) with the meaning of every aspect of a scene. (Apologies if these writers aren't good examples; I'm having a problem recalling an ideal choice.) If the movie seems to drift and be aimless, its because life is not a continuous series of epiphanies, and this is not a typical Hollywood feature. If you need something more obvious, you WON'T like this movie.
Its actually a bit hard to like this movie, but I do. I have met people who have lived through the Disco era and waxed poetic like Josh towards the end of the movie. They're actually yearning for the illusions of their youth; which is kind of what the movie is about.