dr. des mcanuff
str. robert de niro, rene russo and jason alexander
Hey, don't blame me. I wanted to enjoy myself. I gave in to a no expectations mindset and put weightier issues to the side momentarily as I prepared for a snappy piece of light entertainment. I had a long time Rocky and Bullwinkle fan along for the ride, and when the theme kicked in he started to shimmy in his seat. This was promising. His shell had cracked almost instantly, and it put me in the right frame of mind. OK film, you've got me for the moment. Play with me, surprise me. Don't let me down? The animated intro kept the promise of the film for awhile. It was light, sly and self-conscious in a charming way. There was even a bit of bad punning. Joy crept in delightfully. So far so good.
And then it happened. Slowly. You see, the bad moment never hit me with the force of pure revelation, the sort of instant insight which prompts walkouts or the ever-present question what am I doing with my life??. Rather, the film merely grew less charming, less funny. It grew heavier, all comic deftness replaced with lumbering pratfalls and lots of wacky cameos. In retrospect you say you saw it coming, but really your balloon is let out ever so slowly until you realise you're heading earthwards with great speed. You want out, but where else are you gonna go? I'm here now, and if I grit my teeth it will all be over soon. And before you know it we're outside again.
With nothing to talk about. My friend described the experience as a vacuum, and he was right. A nothingness lingered, a malicious apathy we momentarily dispelled by reciting old Late Show skits. It worked for a while, but soon enough the malaise returned with niggling vengeance. This usually verbose pair had been reduced to mumbling nas in search of simple conversation. We took our lunch to the park, chatted awhile and then parted. No great shakes you understand, no tragedies or overwhelming joys, just life and life only. Missed opportunities. A sense that it could all be a little better, that it would only take a little bit of love and attention to turn shit to gold. So, as Ethan Hawke pretentiously pondered in Reality Bites, you take pleasure in the small details: Janeane Garofalo dressed for business before vanishing without a trace. A script which employs the "let me be Frank line". Rene Russo poured into a variety of figure hugging dresses. Another parody of Cops which still manages to be one of the highlights of the film.
Beautiful women, lousy writing and meta-fiction. All in a days work.
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