The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) -vs- Adam (2009)

August 18, 2009 Sherry Coben

Both films are perfectly dreadful/wonderful in entirely different (if entertaining) ways, and it’s going to be difficult coming up with a clear winner; however, it will be delightful deciding which guy would make the dreamier husband. The women on hand provide no contest whatsoever; Rose Byrne’s performance is whiney and borderline creepy while Rachel McAdams’ baby blues shine with love and mysteriously undying affection, unearned and bizarrely inexplicable as that devotion may be.
(A side note/rant: We’re up to our necks in foreigners playing Americans, something of a regular occurrence when it comes to romance on film. Either we Yanks don’t like our fantasies homegrown or perhaps the insistent inclusion of the British Commonwealth incrementally expands the international audience. Whatever the reasons, Aussie Rose Byrne fumbles a bit as an utterly unconvincing New York Jewess named Beth opposite always adorable Brit Hugh Dancy who plays the Asperger’s afflicted Adam with a wide-eyed, slack-jawed and only slightly bogus earnestness. Aussie hunk Eric Bana scores as genetic anomaly Time Traveler midwesterner Henry while as his wife, Canadian Rachel McAdams manages a reasonably convincing (if geographically vague) Chicago WASP-y rich girl. Like Gerard Butler in “The Ugly Truth ” and Kate Winslet in “Revolutionary Road,” they all affect flat and frustratingly unspecific American accents, rendering them a tad generic, creepy and alien. I’m sure critical denizens of the UK experience similar difficulties with Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones) and Michelle Pfeiffer among many others. This accent stuff isn’t for sissies; one wonders why romantic leads can’t hail from their countries of origin and skip this pseudo-Middle Atlantic guff altogether.)
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The Ugly Truth (2009) -vs- Romantic Comedy

July 25, 2009 Sherry Coben

Once again, Hollywood perpetrates a hate crime against humanity and romance disguised as harmless piffle. “The Ugly Truth,” yet another bright-and-shiny anti-romantic comedy, flounces into our midst, full of makeovers and double entendres, movie stars and other clichés that might fool you into thinking it’s enjoyable. Perhaps I’m getting crabby after so many dollars have been picked from my metaphorical pockets by this Godforsaken genre, but it’s high time to go back to the drawing board. I surrender, Studio Executives. Gimme a time machine. A time machine or a movie emporium that screens the romantic comedy classics I love, the theater of my mind. Please return to making the kind of movies that made me fall in love with love and movies.
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