Jul 31, 2015

[Movies] I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)

After the success of Ant-Man, a friend and I got into a weird conversation of re-examining Paul Rudd movies. The question came up if we could name movies where Paul Rudd was truly the lead actor like he is in Ant-Man, and there was a bit of a struggle there. A quick IMDb search eventually led us to conclude that at best he has been the plucky romantic interest with limited agency, or something along those lines.

Then we saw I Could Never Be Your Woman, which felt like the sort of movie that we should have remembered more since it featured Michelle Pfeiffer, but for the life of us we just couldn't remember having scene it. And he had top billing here so...how bad could the movie be?

Closer scrutiny revealed that the movie only saw a very limited release in some countries but for the most part was a direct-to-video release in most markets including the United States. I guess that explains why none of us could remember having even heard about this particular movie.

Synopsis: I Could Never Be Your Woman is a 2007 romantic comedy written and directed by Amy Heckerling, who was also behind movies like Look Who's Talking and Clueless. The Wikipedia page points at Michelle Pfeiffer's committed share in film revenue as one of the major reasons the movie did not see a theatrical release.

Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a 40 year old divorced mother who is a writer and producer for the show You Go Girl. She is also responsible for raising her daughter Izzie (Saoirse Ronan) and is constantly feeling the pressures of needing to look younger somehow despite her age. This is often personified by this Mother Nature figure (Tracey Ullman) that provides occasional commentary for Rosie's life and is also someone that Rosie is able to interact with outside the reality of the movie. I suppose this is all just happening in her head, but the exact reasons behind this are not too clear in the movie.

Things take a turn when her show is forbidden from tackling more controversial subjects, and so she rushes to create a new character to reflect the new direction of the show. This leads her to encounter Adam (Paul Rudd), a rather charming young man who showed up for the auditions. She ends up creating a nerdy but likable character that is eventually received well by test audiences. But outside of work, Adam initiates efforts to see Rosie on a more casual basis and the two eventually start dating despite their age difference.

Maybe this movie came too early for "cougars" to be more in style or something. Or maybe the movie just seemed to try too hard to be super funny and witty with a number of elements in play but without them actually working together.

Let's look at Tracey Ullman's character, Mother Nature, who pretty much bookends this movie in a manner of speaking. I don't understand why we needed this pseudo hallucination character who (1) directly addresses the audience and (2) otherwise talks exclusively to Rosie. She's just Tracey Ullman in a white dress so that means a lot of insults and wisecracks whenever she's on-screen. But I don't feel like she had anything meaningful to contribute. She wasn't a critical enough character to matter even as far as hallucinations or imaginary friends go. We're nowhere near the likes of Ally McBeal or something.

Michelle Pfeiffer seems constantly flustered in almost every scene that she's in while Paul Rudd has his adorkable side amped up to 11, which actually gets a little tiring after a while. He has genuine cute and funny moments, but you also get bits where it feels like he's trying way too hard like that first time in the club and he decides to dance on his own. As much as both Pfeiffer and Rudd and experienced enough actors with their own comedic skills, the writing didn't really support things here, and so the end result just felt rather flat.

Even for 2007, the movie's pacing and sensibilities feel rater dated - and having Jon Lovitz play Rosie's ex-husband didn't really help things along either. There's just something about the pacing of the story and how the various shots were put together that all just scream old. And it's sad since the director is better known for some clever, fresh ideas.

Movie rights deal gone wrong or not, the fact that I Could Never Be Your Woman never saw a major theatrical release was probably a good thing. Its a movie that feels so lackluster that it becomes bad, even though you could argue that it's just a little dull and uninteresting, really. And so the movie only gets 2 moments of Paul Rudd over-acting out of a possible 5.

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