(On Cable TV, November 2016) Anyone expecting Love, Rosie to remain a cute teen romantic comedy is in for a rough first few minutes, as the film boldly tackles missed opportunities, impulsive sex and an unwanted pregnancy that completely changes the protagonist’s life. Much of the rest follows according to the predictable frustration of seeing the film’s two romantic heroes comes close to consummating their love, but never quite managing to do so. Lily Collins stars, convincingly portraying a woman over eighteen years and numerous life changes. The highlight of the film may be the heartwarming relationship that the heroine has with her daughter. Otherwise, much of the story is a predictable cavalcade of near-romantic misses, intentionally frustrating until the big happy ending. Some of the humour goes a bit heavy on the humiliation of the heroine. The same characters pop up too often over the eighteen years of the story but really—who cares, it’s a romance film. Designed to be sappy and relatively successful in achieving its objectives, Love, Rosie doesn’t reach for the top of its category, but should manage to make its audience happy.
(On TV, October 2016) I’m an easy mark for movies about writers, and Stuck in Love does revolve around a broken family where both the father and his two children are writers. Of course, it’s not primarily about writing as much as it’s a romantic comedy about a man pining away for his separated wife, his kids urging him to move on, and assorted hijinks once the kids get into their own romantic entanglements. It ends on a number of happy notes, as it should. Greg Kinnear is OK as the main character, but Lily Collins has the most to do as his daughter. As far as romantic comedies go, Stuck in Love is passable—the script doesn’t offer any particularly strong or funny moments, but the film plows forward to its conclusion without too many problems along the way. It does have its share of unrealistic moments, but those get shoved under the “romantic comedy, don’t ask too many questions” sign. The addition of material about writers is just about the only thing making the film feel different, and it culminates with a voice cameo by Stephen King. Stuck in Love will fill an evening, if that’s the kind of film you’re looking for.
(On Cable TV, October 2015) Young Adult contemporary fantasy has now entered its degenerate phase. I’m not talking about the now-uncountable examples of “first film in the franchise” that will never lead to a second installment. But I am talking about the way they grind up the same material, recycling plot lines, structure, character archetypes and story beats until they all blur into an undistinguishable mush of sameness. Furthermore, what I’m definitely trying to avoid is discussing how I’m trying to write this review a few weeks after seeing The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones without remembering much about it. The Wikipedia synopsis of the plot vaguely brings up a few images but I’m not sure if they’re from this film or any of the other similar films in that subgenre. Lily Collins is fine as the protagonist, but the role is so generic that any other thin brunette under the age of 35 should have been able to do just as well. What I definitely remember is that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is too long in the way that dull movies simply last forever without a point. Cynically assembled and executed without particular flair, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is headed straight for memory oblivion. The process is already well underway in my own mind.