Sweet November (2001)

(On Cable TV, March 2015) I’ve often been ready to defend Keanu Reeves against charges of excessive stiffness, but that resolve takes a serious hit after suffering through Sweet November from beginning to end.  From the awkward doggy-talk opening to the ending in which he takes on terrible news with barely an eyebrow raised, Reeves simply isn’t fit for the role of a San Francisco ad executive who gets a life lesson from an eccentric young woman.  He fits the early character arc as a cold and detached professional, but becomes increasingly miscast as the film asks some humanity.  The rest of the film, truthfully, isn’t much better: Teetering between romantic drama and romantic comedy, the film ultimately remains faithful to its melancholic intentions but doesn’t seem to have earned its wistfulness.  Much of the premise doesn’t make much sense either.  If you look really hard, there’s a few good San Francisco shots, a few amusing moments between the supporting characters but not much more than that: Sweet November feels belabored, mechanical and easily dismissed.  Too bad; fortunately Reeves has been used to much better effect since then.

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