Tag Archives: Anna Faris

Overboard (2018)

When it’s over, Sean turns to me and says ‘I know you recently crowned SPF-18 the worst movie ever, but what do you think, could this usurp it?’ And the thing is yeah – he’s not wrong, though I must uncomfortably remind him that while we watched SPF-18 for “free” (Netflix), we paid to watch this shit. Which makes its awfulness that much harder to swallow.

Sure the 1987 version was horribly sexist, but it was also soaked in charm. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell had major chemistry, and Garry Marshall knew how to wring a scene for laughs. In the 2018 remake, it’s hard not to compare Anna Faris to Goldie Hawn, and it’s impossible for her not to lose, and by quite a large margin. Hawn has big presence and effortless likeability. Faris has her wide mouth and not much else.

In 2018, the roles are reversed. Kate (Faris) is the hard-working widow, and Leo (Eugenio Derbez) the pompous, spoiled brat. She meets him one day vacuuming up a glitter bomb on his beautiful yacht, and failing to meet his impossible standards, is MV5BZjNkOTNjMjktZGI5Yi00ODJjLWFhMzQtZWQ2YTU3NDBiNzRmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1502,1000_AL_thrown overboard, unpaid. He later suffers an accident and ends up unidentified in a hospital with amnesia (his evil sister refusing to claim him so she can inherit the family business) so Kate, egged on by her best friend Theresa (Eva Longoria),decides to claim him as her husband and force him into a life of servitude in order to extort retribution. Nothing about this new life feels familiar to Leo, and he’s not immediately great at working a back-breaking job, doing all the housework, caring for 3 kids, and getting nothing in return.

Eugenio Derbez is a curious choice to play the leading man here. He’s a big star in Mexico but virtually unknown to the rest of North America. He’s also too old for Anna Faris, and not handsome enough, and doesn’t seem at home in either end of his role’s spectrum – the rich playboy, or the blue-collar dad. Either Overboard got some major Mexican money and had to meet certain conditions, or they were courting the Mexican box office (indeed, that’s where it made half its money) hard. Either way, Derbez just doesn’t fit. And Anna Faris, while never my favourite, has something to offer, though that something was left on the table. She’s more adept at physical comedy, screwball stuff, and the script did not play to her strengths at all. The chemistry between them is non-existent. How did this thing even get off the ground?

Never mind the fact that the premise just hasn’t aged very well. I mean, she’s basically kidnapping a mentally disabled person and forcing him into slavery. And when she delivers a laundry list of chores for him to complete on top of his two jobs and caregiving responsibilities, it just comes off as mean. Which isn’t nearly as bad as how she comes off as a mother. First, the gall to complain that her mother (Swoozie Kurtz, whom I have never not loved) is not prepared to derail her whole life in order to care for Kate’s kids full-time. Um, they’re your kids Kate. I get that it’s tough to be a single parent, but it’s nobody’s responsibility but yours. Second, she constant reminds us how icky it is to leave her three young daughters alone with a strange man (the only thing she knows about him is that he’s a horndog douchebag, ie, not great babysitting material) and yet it happens over and over. Kate is a widow, apparently, though that’s mentioned once and forgotten. There is no mourning being done in her household – no mentions, no memories, no pictures even. So I get why she might “fall” for a provider type, someone to lessen her burden. But why would Leo fall for her? She’s so much worse than just your standard liar: she’s amoral and selfish and exploitative. This is not a love story you can root for and not a comedy you can laugh at. So what the heck’s the point?

Advertisements

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

I’m at a wedding today, one I’m helping to coordinate, so I know the brides and I are all hoping that it won’t be cloudy, nor will there by any weird weather events. Blue skies and sunshine please.

I saw Up in theatres with my best friend Rachel in the spring of 2009. The previews included a trailer for a movie I’d never heard of before – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. With our dorky 3D glasses on, the meatballs looked big and bad and only a glance between us was needed to establish that this is where we’d be when it came out in September of that year.

I did see Meatballs in theatres, with Sean. Rachel was dead by then. She died very suddenly on this day 7 years ago, the result of a motorcycle accident. She left behind a 9 year old daughter and was just a couple of weeks away from turning 30. She was buried in a sundress that I bought her. She was always older than me but now I’m older than she ever got to be. I’ve been without her for longer than I knew her, but her loss still smarts.

Meatballs was possibly the first movie I saw with Sean. He and I met just a month before Rachel died. He never knew her in life; they only “met” when he accompanied me to the hospital to say my goodbyes, but that swollen face and broken body weren’t her.

I’ve never been able to be objective about this movie. I like it. It has Mr. T. and that’s pretty objectively great. But it’s also a way to have one last date with the fabulous Miss Rachel. I never got to throw her that surprise birthday party, or be the maid of honour at her wedding. But I did see this movie, and I know she saw it with me.

Lost In Translation

Two Americans in Tokyo. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is there for work – her husband’s work. Neglected, she spends er time gazing down upon the city from the cloisters of her hotel room. Elsewhere in said hotel, Bob (Bill Murray) is suffering the indignity of doing foreign commercials ow that his movie work has dried up. It’s a nice pay day but a blow to his ego. His wife nags him long-distance, via middle of the night faxes.

When Charlotte and Bob meet, they are immediate kindred spirits. Lonely and 0-JQ8-nKevwyF6_c5L.pngAmerican, they form a bond that mimics intimacy. In their glowy little bubble, they experience the quirks and sights of Japan; its foreign-ness feels less daunting and more adventurous when they’re together. When they’re apart, it emphasizes their aloneness. But they always revert to the comfort and familiarity of their luxurious but non-descript hotel. In he hotel, they could be anywhere. They develop such a strong sense of we vs. them that even other Americans seem wrong to them, are laughable. Of course, their friendship is a little dangerous: it won’t be good for either of their marriages.

Bill Murray is good – Oscar-nominated good. His improvisations are so good you can literally see extras cracking up in some scenes. Scarlett Johansson was only 17 when this was filmed, so she’s more of a blank slate, having not yet picked up a lot of the acting crutches and mannerisms upon which she’s come to rely. Actually, in 2018, Lost in Translation is 15 years old, which is almost as old as she was when she made it. That’s something to think about, isn’t it?

Writer-director Sofia Coppola probably made her biggest splash with this film. It pulses with life because she threw so much of herself, her own insecurities and worries, into it. Both of these characters travel to an alien land to truly realize how isolated they’ve become. They are disconnected from their spouses, and communication back home is sporadic and brief. There’s a longing for connection that’s an evident, live thread woven into the tapestry of this film. So many small details add up as proof of their passionate friendship, which is far more effective in this context than a sexual relationship would have been.

The film’s sparsity of dialogue speaks volumes to language not being the greatest barrier between people. Communication happens on all levels, and Coppola signals this in her final scene, with that elusive yet beautiful ending in which Murray whispers something unintelligible to Johansson, and they share a tender kiss. What did he say to her? ¬†We may never know the words, but ew unddertand the meaning.