Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Monday, 17 December 2007

Films I'm so glad I didn't pay to see, part the umpteenth

One good thing about being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud is that I find I don't regret not going to the cinema that often, and finding that I can see on TV things I let slip by.

Another is finding that something I wouldn't have paid to see anyway turns out to be a real stinker. I went to a festive dinner and DVD show with a group of friends last night: someone had chosen The Holiday, as it was vaguely Christmas-themed. Oh dear, what a waste of time and some good actors. It's supposed to be a romantic comedy based around a home exchange between two women who want to get away over Christmas from their romantic disasters. The English leg is set in Hollywood's mysterious England-land, where it always snows for Christmas, and people who write up society weddings for the Daily Telegraph can afford to live in a twee cottage in Surrey, down a twisting forest path too risky for a hire car to drive down (until it suits the plot for it to do so later on), but still "only 40 minutes from exciting London".

It expects Kate Winslet to be a drippier version of Bridget Jones, who is inspired to realise her strength by a twinkly old screenwriter and a quirky nerd; and who expresses it to the cad (who has turned up on her doorstep in Los Angeles - oh yeah?) in yards and yards of psychobabble (all the women in our group were shouting "Just tell him to eff off!"). It expects Jude Law to change from gadabout drunk to charmingly sad widower with impossibly cute children, and to explain this - with a straight face - by saying "I know I come as a package, and I realise my package isn't very impressive".

Is there some sort of "cute by numbers" kit they issue to Hollywood scriptwriters?

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