21 January 2008 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: Mr. Average
Mr Average is quite unlike The Truman Show. In the latter, Jim Carrey's titular character is bred and born for the role as the reality television star who lives a lie, and that product placement is but part and parcel to insert advertisements for the long running show. In Mr Average, it has quite a lot to say about polls and opinions, and boiled down into becoming a predictable romantic tale.
And the way the romantic tale gets played out seemed quite like that in Knocked Up, where a femme fetale type falls in love with the unlikeliest of guys. Too good to be true of course, and most of the time happening in movieland. Jalil (Khalid Maadour) is the latest sensation in a television game show "Your Choice is Right", and having attracted incredible ratings, he becomes the "It" boy, and finds himself in a new apartment bought on the cheap, just in time to furnish it with his winnings from the game. And as lady luck would have it, along comes va-va-voom Claire (a very beautiful Caroline Dhavernas, who reminds me of Claire Forlani) whom he meets on the set of the show, and before you can say "rigged", he falls hard for the one girl who's the planted mole by the marketing agency, subtly (to us in the audience at least) pushing products for his one liner opinions.
The film explores the power of opinions, how dominant ones tend to influence those on the fringes to swing votes in their favour. Martketeers would probably pay obscene amounts of money in order to harness opinions the way it does in the movie, especially when one man's sentiment echoes the choice of the masses. Why waste time conducting surveys of thousands to get the average consensus, when you can monitor and put on surveillance one man, and work on the choices he makes, without him knowing of course, lest the outcome is influenced and becomes skewed.
And the possibilities and combination of data that can be mined are incredible. You can have choices made for products ranging from the style to colour, and more importantly, what works and what doesn't, what could be hot and what could be lacklustre. Naturally the scenario here, a man who's consistently correct and represents the opinions of the masses, is too good to be true and highly unlikely given probability, but one can just imagine the potential that can be harnessed from such an individual.
But a movie that deals with the science and fiction of such coincidence doesn't make it quite interesting does it, and may jolly well run out of steam. So there's where the romantic angle comes into play, providing food for thought about relationships in general, that one has to be based on the foundations of trust, without which the negativeness of suspicion will come in and ruin everything. I thought this aspect of it was solely on the shoulders of the Claire character, where we see how she struggles with being undercover, and yet experiencing the difficulty of distancing herself emotionally from a man she starts to slowly fall in love with. Mr Average, in being average, certainly does have his share of moments, and the last act clearly demonstrates his harnessing of his abilities to milk his potential for his own personal gain.
Mr Average doesn't start off strongly in establishing its characters and premise. In fact, it begins quite poorly and sets out to almost confuse unknowingly with its myriad of movement and wacky game show antics, coupled with some snazzy special effect that doesn't really cue you in, until some time into the movie where you can piece things together, or you'd have to rely on The Truman Show to provide some possible background knowledge on what could currently develop from that point on.
If I had to sum it up succinctly, Mr Average tried hard enough to transcend its title, but ultimately what came across is like it's title indeed. An average romantic comedy movie.