Monday, April 10, 2006

I heart Jimmy Choos

Cara and I sat down and watched Curtis Hanson's newest film on Saturday night - and I was somewhat disappointed!

Hanson, in the past, has directed some stellar films! LA Confidential, Wonder Boys, hell, I even love 8 Mile! But I kind of feel like things were a little off with the film; pointing to the Diaz/Collette performances and the "chick-flick" issue of male characters.

Now, I have not read the book (which I have heard is really good) and neither had Cara, so she could not clue me in on how successful the translation was. But I do know Hanson's work, and this picture feels a little scattered.

The casting seemed way off on the sisters; Diaz and Collette have a little spark - but the differences are so major between the two, I had trouble finding a sisterly connection. Also, the man Collette ends up with is completely mis-cast, not providing a grounded role for her to lean on.

I also found some depictions of the father to be flat and cliched. Using his life choices (new domineering wife, closing off of the girl's grandmother) as plot devices rather than character decisions undercut any impact the actor attempted to bring in his scenes. He seemed only to exist to create drama for the women of the film.

George Cukor's 1939 film The Women, used a similar plot device of the male as dramatic fuel for the film, but Cukor was far more sly. In his film, there is nary a male seen throughout the whole picture. Not one! This allows the viewer a far stronger connection to the females and does not waste any time in weighing the decisions of the men. Though, I must admit, the ending (Norma Shearer is seen running towards the arms of her adulturous husband, happy to return to him!) is somewhat difficult to swallow - the impact of the male-less film is far greater.

Hanson fails at making the father real in any way, and actually, drops the ball on Collette's fiance as well- and In Her Shoes suffers because of it.

There are some laughs - the girls share tearful moments. Diaz plays the wh0re quite well, and Collette is always good (though, like I said, she feels a little miscast here!). Maclaine is a little transparent though - which is odd for such a strong female actress. Did she dislike Hanson? The script? I not sure.

Anybody else check it out? Or read the book?

I had an amazing weekend - went bowling with the family, hit some golf balls with Cara and watched the Masters! Got out to see an I-Cubs game. Bought a new I Love the 80's game that is similar to Cranium - that will be cool! And we did a major round of four-square last night the enjoyed a root beer float during Sopranos!

Good stuff!



Kern said...

I heart four square.

Also, bravo Jed. I liked your deconstruction of the film here. I haven't seen it, but have almost done so because of the Curtis Hanson angle. Your insight about the Cukor film really makes me want to see The Women. I find myself becoming more and more interested in criticism regarding the role gender plays in film.

Nicely done, sir. Nicely done, indeed.

Damfino said...

D@mnit Alex, I didn't get my pants off in time!

Ya know though - I don't know much about Hanson's early career. I know Hand That Rocks the Cradle is in there... Bad Influence?

Four square was yummy - Jer was pulling these awesome PowerMac maneuvres - meaning he was returning with everythng but his hands... it was amazing!

Kern said...

Was anyone playing while drinking a beer? That was a Kern special!

krysta jo said...

Jed - I read the book and the movie followed it incredibly closely. However, in this case - like almost always - the book is really much better than the movie. But..the casting was good - the sisters in the book had absolutely no connection or anything in common and the dad was portrayed almost to a T as he was in the book. So not a bad translation - maybe just not a book that should have been made into a movie.