Alex and Emma

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language
Starring: Luke Wilson, Kate Hudson, Chino XL
Directed By:Rob Reiner

Final Grade:

Over the years I have learned a great deal of things, but the one thing I have learned from movies, books and real life experience, is never deal with bookies. Bookies are always nice enough to loan you the money, and they are also nice enough to shoot off one of your toes when you can’t pay them. And the even weirder thing is, if you owe a bookie a lot of money and they shoot off one of your toes, you still owe them the money. That doesn’t seem fair to me. Unfortunately sometimes life deals out unfair cards when it comes to the movie business as well, and so begins the tale of Alex and Emma. Alex is supposed to be writing the next great American novel, but he has wasted away his time and all of his money in gambling bets gone wrong, and paying back bookies. But when his luck runs out and the bookies want their money, they give Alex 30 days to finish and sell the novel he hasn’t started, or they will kill him. Knowing that he can’t do it alone, he confides in the help of a young stenographer named Emma Dinsmore to help him type his masterpiece. This cheap attempt at a Romantic comedy is about as good as it gets. It has the potential to be a romantic comedy masterpiece. Directed by Rob Reiner, who is famed for When Harry Met Sally, one would think that this would be hailed as the next great installment, in Reiner’s success. But Instead Alex and Emma falls short. What the plot does well is also clouded by mediocrity, unoriginality and just plain stints of boredom that make Alex and Emma an almost, but not quite flick.

Never the less, my respect for Luke Wilson grows more and more with each film that I see him in. Wilson plays the same type of character he does in every flick, but he has an on screen charisma that makes him a joy to watch. His somewhat dry, satirical humor is projected through his dialogue and his expressions and he was the perfect choice for the role of Alex Shipley. Kate Hudson does and equally good job as Emma, but her pretty girl who falls hopelessly in love for her employer isn’t really a role you have to really try to perfect. She therefore only really needs to sleepwalk through the role, look cute, not be annoying and the audience will love her. Reiner does a nice job of making sure she has that effect and it works for her. The plot despite it’s mediocrity has it’s high points. The story of a loveless writer trying to work through his writers block has hints of a bad romantic comedy version of Adaptation, but it works for the film. If you are a writer you have to laugh at some of the writing jokes, the ever changing characters and the “I don’t know what happens next” phrase that Wilson keeps using. But in the end, we know what happens next. He writes the novel, sells it, gets the money, gets the girl but not without a little conflict. By the time we go through all these motions though, the end result is a bore to wait for. It follows the formulaic boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, enter conflict, girl leaves boy, boy confesses true love, they live happily ever after. It’s too lighthearted and fluffy to be an intelligent romantic comedy, and therefore it falls short.

If you are a lover of the Romantic comedy genre, don’t get me wrong, it is not the worst thing you have ever seen. It does the trick as a date movie, and you may score some brownie points with your girlfriend for taking her to it. But don’t expect greatness, Alex and Emma can’t compete with the summer blockbusters, nor can it really compete with some of it’s romantic comedy predecessors. It’s sad to say that this movie just didn’t quite work a smoothly as it could have, when you have such talented actors such as Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson. While both of them have bright futures still ahead of them, As for their characters, Alex and Emma, they will soon be booted out of the box office spotlight, and into the shadows of the dark corners of the rental shelves and quickly forgotten.

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