It’s time to look at a classic rom/dram/com title. It’s a pretty decent film and I have to give the main guy some extra credit here since he didn’t fall for the usual tricks. He’s definitely still not a great character as he makes some other iffy moves, but all in all the whole story was handled a lot more realistically than I would have otherwise expected. It also gives you some more insight into the mind of the critics.
So the film starts out with Lawrence being promoted to one of the big 8. He’s at a level where a review can make or break a show. Lawrence swears to use this power responsibly and to be an honest critic like he always was. Unfortunately the power does start to get to him and he enjoys ruining people’s careers for a good laugh. So long as he keeps getting his pay check he’s happy to put everyone out of business. His wife Kate suggests that he is losing himself and decides that it’s the perfect time to get a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately this just serves to widen the gap between them as Lawrence is slowly being turned to the dark side. Can Kate help him turn back into the noble man he once was or is he already too far gone?
The whole critic angle is pretty accurate except I’d usually say that it’s in the opposite side of the spectrum. You’re most likely going to get candid opinions from critics who are just starting out or aren’t at a super high level. The more influence and connections you get, the more likely you’ll have people influencing your reviews. After all, if you’re invited to a private screening or given an expenses paid trip to watch a title it’s definitely going to play on your mind. Do you give the film more leeway or attack it even more to try and cover your bias? While reviewers getting paid off is mainly a meme, the psychological attacks are usually pretty real. Most reviewers won’t even realize what is happening until it’s too late. Of course, nobody’s particularly exempt from that, but that’s why I never buy into reviews anyway. I mostly just like reading the ones that poke a lot of fun at the title or are just super negative. A hobby of mine is reading reviews that tear into things I like, but I digress.
Lawrence was on the escalator down from the start only he doesn’t even try to put up any resistance. I do agree with him giving Alfred’s play a negative review since at the time it was his obvious opinion. Did he have to use such extreme hyperbole in tearing the play down? No, but if that’s his writing style then it makes sense to keep going as normal. From there on out he just gets worse and worse to the point where he stops caring about the average joe. He gets quite obsessive by the end. So, even once Lawrence has had his character arc by the end he just isn’t a very likable character. Keep in mind that he didn’t even attend the play at the last second and I expected him to do so. So, I had no real sympathy for him.
I will give him credit for not being seduced by the actress Deborah though. In almost every kind of scenario like what happened in this film the guy would have cracked and he would have just been forgiven from it by the end. That didn’t happen here. Lawrence turned her down every time so I was glad he kept some morals even if he stopped being a hero. Cheating definitely would have really made his character too far gone. Meanwhile Deborah’s not a great antagonist. It’s good to see her taking a lot of Ls here, but ultimately her character arc wasn’t really needed for the experience.
Meanwhile Kate is the main heroine and she is a good character although she is way too naive. She knows from the start that Alfred is really upset at Lawrence and is actively trying to sabotage him. Why would she trust anything that he says from that point on? Just accepting his manuscript at face value didn’t really make any sense and they’re awful chummy all things considered. Fortunately the other people in the town had a backup plan ready, but all told she shouldn’t have fallen for the trick. It’s hard to get around that, but otherwise she is a good character. She’s definitely a lot more noble and down to earth than Lawrence. She doesn’t hang onto a mountain of pride the way that he does and ultimately she does her best to fit into the community and make sure that everyone comes out of this as a winner.
As for Alfred, he’s definitely a pretty spiteful guy. It’s why the film’s a bit tragic since he was right the whole time. He’s definitely a villain in the film who ultimately doesn’t get the last laugh though. If anything Lawrence is always one step ahead even when Alfred’s plans do go well. Hopefully after this he doesn’t stay as the god-father of the kids though because I’d say that he betrayed Lawrence one too many times. After a while you just gotta cut the guy out entirely. Who knows what else he may do to get back at the main characters.
The writing in the film is pretty good and the pacing is solid. Naturally I can’t say that the romance was all that great though. Kate and Lawrence both kept waiting for the other person to apologize and for the most part I was always on Kate’s side. I’m glad that she wouldn’t always run to him since it should be 50/50. The romance isn’t terrible though so it’s not like it holds the film back. The kids are a bit annoying though. The less said about them the better because they don’t serve any kind of purpose in the film. They just do their best to annoy the main characters and get in the way the whole time. They’re pretty young of course, but this is why I always say that kids can’t hold their own film as main characters or supporting characters. They just don’t really know how to interact on the same level as the others.
Overall, I’d recommend checking this film out if you want to see an old school romance about how power corrupts. It’ll remind you not to take reviews too seriously as they may have an agenda and how even if you go way up the corporate food chain you should never forget the civilians you used to be with. Stature never makes you a bigger person, it just inflates your ego if you don’t watch out. Lawrence didn’t keep himself grounded and it almost caught up to him. If not for Kate he likely would have been swallowed up entirely. Just watch out for the cab driver in the movie, he may ultimately be the one to change the theater landscape!