Tuesday, April 11, 2006

MatchPoint Loses

I was really looking forward to the new Woody Allen movie. I mean, really looking forward to it, as in nagging my husband continually that we should see it, and then that we should go rent it, and then finallly opportunity struck as it was featured as an in room movie selection during a hotel visit we had last weekend--perfect. Having seen the previews and knowing, of course, that the film was nominated for best movie, I had high hopes. What a disaster! Halfway through the movie, I looked at my husband and uttered an emphatic, "you've got to be kidding me!" For one thing, there was absolutely no character development whatsoever. It's nice that the movie was filmed in London for a change of pace, but if you don't care about any of the characters or what happens to them, it could be filmed in Biloxi and, really, who would care? Chris Wilton, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is an aspiring tennis pro who, through one of his tennis students, is exposed to London high society and gets a glimpse of the good life. He begins dating the daughter of a prominent London family, and they marry, although he also begins a messy affair with Nola Rice (Scarlett Johanssen) just a short time later. After all, who can resist Johanssen walking around in a wet field in the English countryside with her blouse half unbuttoned, tipsy from too many glasses of wine she's downed as a result of her stalled acting career? Still, this movie refuses to allow us any fun, and even Nola is only sexy for about five minutes before becoming pregnant and demanding- insisting that Chris tell all to his new family and relinquish his newly found status to live a life of passion and poverty with her. Her phone calls to Chris are as annoying as telemarketers, and let's face it, she's become an irritating nag, with no money to boot. Should he give up everything, including the cushy new job where he's in charge of something significant (although we have no idea what), and the groovy London apartment, for annoying "I just get so nervous in auditions" Nola? It's a no brainer, really. Chris, who momentarily ponders returning to the low life he started from for about one nanosecond, decides the best thing to do is yes, that's right, commit a double murder, killing off Nola and her annoying landlady and making it look like drug related incident. Of course! Why didn't I think of that? The film descends into a lot of stupid whodunnit antics, including Chris's wife Chloe apparently looking for him ONLY when he is loading and unloading shooting paraphenalia from the gun shed, and accidentally dropping bullets on the kitchen floor. Please! I forgot to mention that in between it all is lots of heavy handed opera music, signalling that the whole thing takes itself way more seriously then the audience ever will...and, a lot of strange tennis analogies about the role of luck in our lives, meant to symbolize what happens at the end of the movie, when Chris through a turn of fate, seems to get away with it all. Cue the fatalistic Dostoyevsky philosophical layering, as heavy as a holiday fruitcake. To top it all off, there's an absolutely ridiculous scene where Chris sees the dead Nola and landlady coming back from the dead ...just to reprimand him, saying things like, "you really shouldn't have killed us." Duh. Too bad Woody Allen didn't have such concerned ghosts keeping him up at night, warning him that he really shouldn't have made this movie.

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