Failure to Launch (2006)

Here comes another romance comedy review! Yes, they’re predictable, yes they don’t have many differences between them, yes they’re soppy and just put a smile on your face! Although, I do have to admit this one does have slightly different characters from usual and the initial reason for the couple to date.

Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) calls herself an interventionist, someone who has a knowledge of helping men move out of their parents’ house. Paula’s job is dating these men to make these realise they can live a different life, an independent life, on their own, not in their parents’ house in their thirty-somethings. She is hired by parents who want their sons out. Introducing Tripp (Matthew McConaughey); an adrenaline-junkie living a leisurely life on boats and enjoying abseiling and hanging with his friends, but he still lives at home with his parents. Obviously, this case is not like all her other cases. Paula finds that Tripp is very different from the normal men she dates and persuades to move out.

The best character in this film, however, has to be the hilarity, bluntness and chaotic moods swings of Paula’s best friend, Kit (played by the excellent Zooey Deschanel). Even though she’s not the main character, she is funny in her own bonkers way. There are also many other recognisable characters that turn up in the film, such as Kathy Bates, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, and Stephen Tobolowsky.

‘Failure to Launch’ is by far not my favourite romcom. It has its moments – it’s not fantastic, it’s not horrific. There are enjoyable scenes, and really random ones too. Especially with the bizarre storyline with Bradley Cooper’s character being in harmony with all animals and Matthew McConaughey’s really not being in harmony at all. Kit as a character is fun and crazy as I’ve already mentioned – she is the highlight of the film. I can’t say this is a romcom to remember, in fact it can be quite forgettable. However, it’s one to escape into for a little while with few giggle worthy moments.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)

Matthew McConaughey plays the obnoxious, egotistical protagonist of this film. Conor Mead is known for the amount of women he’s slept with. He’s known for his hideous ways of treating them and fleeing at the earliest convenience. It’s quick to establish his character on screen, within the first ten minutes you know he’s not going to be the favourite of the film. But that’s why he is about to learn his lesson, learn that the way he’s been living will only lead to his lonely demise. In ‘A Christmas Carol’ kind of way, Conor, at his brother’s wedding, is confronted with three ghosts, ghosts of girlfriends past, present and future.

Here lies the problem, Matthew McConaughey plays this character too well. I understand he’s supposed to be a pretty insufferable character in order to provoke the ‘three ghosts’ situation. However, the issue lies in the fact that this character doesn’t really have any endearing qualities to latch onto, the audience sees no need for hope. Instead, he’s rather irritating throughout the whole film and it’s completely understandable why he’s alone and shouldn’t get the girl! Where he is supposed to be learning a lesson by seeing the ghosts, his scared persona becomes annoying as he makes it all about him still. It takes a rather long time until the message settles in, which is realistic if you’re going to change your entire personality in one night. But during this rather long time, the ending comes too soon. Nah, I’m not buying it.

The majority of the film, as the name insists, is about the ghosts’ messages to Conor. The first ghost seen is his hero, his Uncle played by Michael Douglas. Douglas does play the self-righteous character well. You can quickly realise why Conor is the way he is. Next, is the ghost of girlfriends past. This is the ghost that needs most attention, the main reason for this? Oh, only because its Emma Stone! Emma Stone is the highlight of this romcom. She is excitable and over the top bringing comedy and light-hearted humour whenever she is on screen. She could have been in every scene and it would have been made a thousand times better. Her whole bubbly personality is a joy to watch and just makes the suffering of the main protagonist even more comical as she forces him to witness all parts of his past.

‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’ is an alright romcom. As I’ve said the main issue lies in the character of Conor Mead. I feel there needs to be a character that you can latch onto in a romance comedy, and I couldn’t care less with how this ending turned out. There are some highs of the film, Emma Stone being one of them of course. Additionally, Lacey Chabert, aka Gretchen Wieners from ‘Mean Girls’, is fun as the bride-to-be. She’s comical in her outbursts, she does play it well. Finally, as a romance comedy I need some romance to cling to, to get that soppy ending or hopeful plea of happiness, but it was a miss. Conor Mead went too far in his personality traits of narcissistic qualities. To be honest, I couldn’t even cling onto the supposed ‘love interest’. It’s a shame because the concept of the film could work.

Groundhog Day (1993)

A classic romcom where the title of the film is recognised as a saying in film culture. Groundhog day is the day that is repeated over and over again. Back in 1993 to the original groundhog repetitive day.

Bill Murray is great as the sarcastic, egocentric reporter. He lives the life of the “glass is half empty” when he has to return to the groundhog festival, a festival he believes as silly and a waste of time. He didn’t know that once he fell asleep, he would wake up on the same day he hates so much: February 2nd, Groundhog Day. Somehow the repetitive nature doesn’t actually become repetitive. It’s cleverly done to tell different stories among the same days and the ones that are telling the same stories became comical in the slight adjustments.

Bill Murray’s character as Phil is very comical. He plays the reality of repeating the same day over and over again extremely well. Although, there is a depressing section, which definitely moves away from the comedy, although is slightly real with the day repeating over and over again becoming to a depressing and dulling low, never being able to get to tomorrow. Apart from this, the film is fun and creative. It ends in a great feel-good sensation.

I would definitely watch this film again! It’s a film that has been remembered in film culture and understandably so. It’s extremely difficult to make a film so repetitive and for the audience not to become dulled and bored by the same storyline – yet, this film succeeds in it’s repetitive nature and doesn’t become boring but maintains comedy. It’s fun and Bill Murray is a great actor to always watch. It is definitely his character that keeps the audience watching.

Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. What more do you need? Both phenomenal actors, these two are perfect on screen to watch. They have perfect comedy making this film so enjoyable to watch amongst the arguments, the witty comebacks, the parallel personalities and the romance.

Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) lives a life dedicated to saving the planet and in particular the beautiful buildings around her. George Wade (Hugh Grant) is a millionaire, removing buildings to build grand new ones to make a profit. It seems unlikely when Lucy is hired by George becoming his attorney. Nevertheless, months go past and Lucy feels she has lost herself, she finally snaps and hands in her notice – two weeks.

As I’ve said, both Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock are perfect in this film. Their odd dynamic of a friendship is brilliant, George Wade as a self-absorbed arrogant and Lucy Kelson as the polar opposite. Yet George becomes highly dependent upon his new assistant calling at all hours of the day for Lucy to decide menial things in his life. Lucy, however, finally finds someone she can confide in as she has her most embarrassing moments on screen which are hilarious for the audience. The tennis and RV scene as the most obvious examples.

I truly love this film and believe it is so underrated. Many I have spoken to have never even heard of ‘Two Weeks Notice’ yet I know they would love it! It has comedy and romance – guaranteed to make the audience smile. Both of the characters are brilliant and force the audience to come invested in both of them despite flaws. It’s a movie that makes me giggle out loud and never fails to put a smile on my face. It also has a good soundtrack, this film will forever remind me of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. Besides, it’s Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant! What more can you ask for?

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

Ginnifer Goodwin, Kevin Connolly, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Busy Philipps, Drew Barrymore – this film is scattered with phenomenal actors. With the whole small world concept into reality, all these characters are interlinked somehow. Amongst these characters’ storylines, the film also has an interview element where people talk to the camera about their dating experiences. This creates a great conclusion when during the credits, the characters are in turn interviewed and talking to us as the audience.

The film follows married couples, new couples, blind dates, friendships, all relationships. Predominantly it follows Ginnifer Goodwin (‘Once Upon a Time’) as Gigi. She’s our narrator and most forward character. She’s desperate to find love, which can make her act a bit crazy. Amongst her craziness, she meets a friend, Alex (Justin Long); this friendship grows into one of my favourites to watch in the film. Alex gives advice and brutal honesty about the men Gigi is seeing – that they’re just not that into her. Gigi is the character who explains to the audience about how women are told that men like them when they are horrible, she is the prime example of buying into all of the niceties told to her and throws 100% into every relationship. That’s until she meets Alex.

I think one of the best concepts of this film is how all the characters intertwine with each other, so I don’t want to mention all of them. Only that, they are all played so phenomenally, I don’t think you would expect any differently from the great star list in this movie. Jennifer Aniston’s storyline is one of my favourites too, but who doesn’t love Jennifer Aniston? She’s fabulous in this, just as she’s fabulous as Rachel. This is a classic romcom film, however not all characters played by these brilliant stars are to be liked all the time. Many of them feel extremely realistic, they all have their flaws. For example, Gigi’s vulnerability or Alex’s brutal honesty, amongst all the rest. Even though there are a lot of characters, it’s an easy film to follow and doesn’t become confusing at any point.

Now, I do love a soppy romance comedy and this is definitely one of them. It’s heart-warming and gooey and that just makes it all the better. It’s quite a long film, over two hours, so as an audience you do become invested in these characters quickly. But it’s easily done. I love watching this film as it just makes you feel great by the end and they are wonderful characters and storylines to escape into for a couple hours. If you’re like me and love a classically soppy romcom, this is right up your street. There’s adorable friendships, a lot of cringe-worthy moments (some are too much for me), but above all soppy romance to warm your heart up and put a smile on your face!

My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)

‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend’ follows Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson), an average guy in his day-to-day life. From the advice of his offensive best friend, Matt decides to ask out some random woman he met on the subway. Little did he know that this woman is in fact Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman), aka G-Girl the superhero that has been saving the city one crime at a time. Once they start dating, Matt begins to realise that this woman is not anyone normal, instead the stereotype of “crazy ex-girlfriend” is pushed to the limits when she becomes insanely jealous and overprotective.

This film seems to be a random choice for Uma Thurman to be in. Luke Wilson and Anna Faris – yes, I completely get that. But Uma Thurman? That’s random. Nevertheless, she does a good job as the superhero. I mean as good as it’s going to get in this film… The problem with the characters is that they aren’t really likable or relatable. Jenny becomes extremely erratic and relies a lot on superpowers, which obviously is not relatable. Even Matt isn’t really a character to be relatable. His character is annoying and watching I didn’t really care that he now had a crazy girlfriend attacking him. He’s not a character to cling to which makes it a little harder to watch.

To be brutally honest, ‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend’ is ridiculously bad. Hilariously so. It feels long as well. In reality it’s only an hour and a half, but it feels a lot longer. There’s a large build up before the namesake of the film is even true. There’s a lot of character developing beforehand, which I get is needed. Although, is a little draining and not that funny either. The comedy comes in when the superhero turns into an ex. The funniest part of the film has to be when G-Girl throws a shark at the main protagonist. Yes, this film gets that random and crazy. The whole aspect of a crazy ex-girlfriend is supposed to be the comedy gold of this film. I can’t really say it hits the screens as successfully as hoped for.

It’s a bit of a whirlwind film. A lot goes on at the same time. There are also many scenes that are so cringe-worthy and awkward, I had to distract myself to do something other than watch the screen. It’s also got a lot of rude scenes, so 12 for reason. Nevertheless, there are some comedic elements, and it’s far from the worst film I’ve ever seen. Overall, I don’t think I’ll be rushing to watch this again any time soon, and it’s easily a forgotten film. Other than the shark, I do think that is hilarious!

Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

I do believe that Cinderella will be a story told over and over again. Back in 1998, Drew Barrymore told the famous tale in another unique way. ‘Ever After’ maintains the Cinderella tale: a young girl is left with her evil stepmother and two stepsisters. She becomes a servant in her own home, although once she’s grown up, she catches the attention of a Prince who will do anything to find his true love again.

‘Ever After’ is set in the 16th Century in France. The film constantly flitters between the two main protagonists. Firstly, Danielle (Drew Barrymore), aka our Cinderella. Danielle lives with her stepmother (played by Anjelica Huston), and her stepsisters, Marguerite (Megan Dodds) and Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey). Once again, the stepmother is unnecessarily cruel to Danielle and favourites her own children, in particular Marguerite. Jacqueline, on the other hand, has to be one of my favourite characters in the film. Her innocence and kindness are constantly shown on screen portraying that Danielle is not fully alone in her family. From the get-go, Danielle is feisty and will do anything to save her own farm, anything to bring back the life and memory of her father. She is a wonderful character to watch.

Secondly, we follow the Prince of France, Henry (Dougray Scott). Once he hits our screens, we discover he is angry by his upbringing. He feels forced to live a life of royalty that he does not want. As one of the guards says, “he suffers from an arranged marriage” and all he wants to do is find his own path and his true love. This character is definitely not one to love from the beginning of the film, I actually find that he is a character that you need to learn to understand throughout the film rather than just seeing him as throwing a fit because he can’t get what he wants.

‘Ever After’ is a drama of romance and comedy. The comedy is not slap-you-in-the-face funny, but rather just the occasional chuckles or smiles. There is obviously romance with the story of Cinderella, you can’t expect any different. Additionally, there are a lot of twists and unexpected occurrences in this film, which differs quite dramatically from the traditional tale of Cinderella. Yes, the essence is there, but there’s a lot more to it than the bare bones. The most important one being that this Cinderella doesn’t need a Prince to save the day. Lastly, I cannot say the acting in this film is phenomenal, it is quite sketchy at times, but it adds to the comedy. It’s a cheesy film, not the best well-made, rather the opposite. Do remember it was filmed in 1998 and that definitely reflects throughout the film. Nevertheless, I do love this film. It’s soppy and funny in its own way. Besides, who doesn’t love a story of Cinderella?