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Hope Springs

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hope springs

They’re happier than the critics were watching this.

A friend of mine had seen this movie before me and said “I really didn’t need to see Meryl Streep have an orgasm.”

I immediately yelled, “Hey! Spoiler alert here! I haven’t seen it yet.”

I missed the press screening and had to catch it after it opened. I headed over to the Reading Town Square theatre. The woman meeting me to see it wasn’t there. It turned out, a brush fire near the I-15 was keeping traffic from moving.

She showed up 15 minutes late, and we got in as it was starting. I was surprised to see a packed theatre for the matinee. I was more surprised to find I was sitting in front of two old ladies that wouldn’t stop talking. At first I didn’t mind. They were enjoying themselves as they commented on various scenes.

There was a point where Streep told Tommy Lee Jones the flight left at 10:05 a.m. and we see the alarm go off at 7. The lady behind me said loudly “Oh my, she’s really cutting it close. You really should be at the airport by 8:00 if your flight leaves at 10.”

At that point I turned around and said “Can you ladies please be quieter?”

They were quiet the rest of the movie, but I got more annoyed by Vanessa Taylor. She’s the TV writer who wrote the screenplay. It seemed more like a Lifetime movie. Although it’s rated PG-13 which is funny, considering nobody under the age of 55 will probably care about the subject matter.

When the movie started with Streep making eggs and bacon, and Jones scarfing them down before leaving to work…only to return home for dinner and falling asleep to golf highlights…it made me think of scenes Streep won an Oscar for.

In Kramer vs. Kramer, I remember being so moved by the food preparation scenes. Streep makes Dustin Hoffman dinner, and it sits getting cold while he chats with his boss all night. She’s lonely, and it’s rude. Later in the movie, Hoffman is single. He realizes just how tough it is to make meals for the family.

This film barely delved into the topics of why the marriage has gone into a rut. We’ve seen the marriages that have become full-blown war (War of the Roses, etc.). I liked the idea of a little film (with Oscar winners) that deals with an older couple that has just gotten into a boring routine (that line wouldn’t work on the movie poster).

Steve Carell plays it straight as a famous “couples expert.” Perhaps they should’ve given him a bit of humor. The screenplay could’ve used it.

I would’ve found it more interesting if he gave good advice, or things I don’t feel like I’ve heard on Dr. Phil.

Director David Frankel did a decent job with Marley & Me and one of the most underrated movies of last year – The Big Year. He blew it big time with this.

Some of the close-ups were awful, and the score was manipulative and corny. I never thought I’d be disappointed hearing Van Morrison and Al Green on screen.

There are moments where you adore seeing Jones and Streep on screen together. Yet there are other times where I thought “Is she June Cleaver?”

Another time I thought “Is he Walter Matthau?”

In movies, when we see a teenage couple going in for a first kiss, we can laugh at the awkwardness. Perhaps the guy doesn’t know which direction to move his head, or where to put his arms around her. When a couple that has been married for 31 years isn’t even sure how to snuggle (after the doctors first “sexercise”)…

And they often went for cheap laughs. This involved a scene in a movie theatre (use your imagination), and a neighbor who Jones expressed interest in at a session.

This comedy doesn’t have many laughs, only a few smiles. It’s not as thought provoking as the subject matter should be. I cared for these characters initially, until they became caricatures.

The biggest laugh I got was when a friend said to me the next day “Did they explain in that movie why Meryl Streep would’ve married a guy that looked like Tommy Lee Jones?”

It gets 2 stars out of 5.

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