I read an interview with Warren Beatty 15 years ago and he tried to explain Ishtar. He said the script had a few laughs, and he figured it was a sloppy comedy that would work well enough once they started filming.
If a filmmaker as talented as him can’t spot such a clunker while reading a script, I often find it hard to knock other actors that can’t.
But when filming started, the talented Amy Adams (who was so great in Sunshine Cleaning) and Mathew Goode (who isn’t living up to his last name, after doing the bad period piece Brideshead Revisited and now this)…should have been able to tell this material wasn’t working.
A car rolling back into a lake; an unexpected downpour while they admire a castle; the usual cliché of only one bed being available and the guy being forced to sleep in the shower. I could go on with the goofy stuff that filled this unfunny “rom-com,” as these movies are now called. I’d like to call them “lob-com”, since they are comedies you’ll only find humorous if you’ve had a lobotomy.
I believe multiple screenwriters worked on this movie. It’s hard to believe that not one of them could punch some life into it.
Things start off well, with John Lithgow as the wacky dad. It was his only scene.
And about 30 minutes into the film, I laughed at a scene that had Goode walking in on Adams as she was changing clothes. Her reaction was priceless.
Aside from those two scenes, nothing else in this movie worked. Oh wait…the Irish countryside was beautiful. The castles were nice to look at (although when Adams stands on the edge of a cliff, you are almost rooting for her to jump, I sure wished I could’ve at that point). If I want to look at the green, scenic landscape of Ireland, I’ll fish around for that postcard someone sent me years ago.
And really, I could watch Amy Adams read the phone book. I just can’t watch her in dreck like this.
I’ve heard actresses complain that no good characters are out there for women. Well, how about actresses boycott films that write the female lead as if she doesn’t have an IQ above her shoe size?
I really don’t expect romantic comedies to break new ground, but it doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to make an entertaining one that works.
Leap Year comes around every four years. And that’s about the rate a good rom-com does, too.