Girl Most Likely – Film Review

Girl Most Likely

The last time I guest reviewed a film for Mild Concern, it was Cabin In The Woods and all the review said was “Holy Shit”. Similarly, this time I could have submitted a review for Girl Most Likely that just said “Darren Criss is hot”, but I thought I’d try to use my words.

Girl Most Likely is a comedy that revolves around Imogene, a role that sees Kristen Wiig basically replicate her character from Bridesmaids. Imogene is recently single, even more recently unemployed, and the once-promising former playwright finds her life spiralling downwards and out of control. So obviously, like any normal person would, she fakes a suicide attempt to try and win back her dull socialite boyfriend. When her plan backfires she ends up on the psychiatric ward with doctors only willing to release her into the care of a family member. Enter her mother Zelda (Annette Bening) who drags an unwilling Imogene back to New Jersey and back to her childhood home.

The change in location introduces us to all of the movie’s entertaining characters. We meet lodger Lee (Darren Criss), a member of a 90s boy band tribute act who now rents Imogene’s old room, and her brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald), whose sweet innocence and obsession with crabs leaves you hating Imogene a little bit for abandoning him with their mother in the first place. Lastly there’s Zelda’s boyfriend George Bousche (Matt Dillion) whose CIA agent sub-plot is so ridiculous it should be completely out of place but ends up being one of the highlights of the film.

Girl Most Likely 2

The problem with Girl Most Likely is that there’s no real problem with Girl Most Likely – it just doesn’t elicit much reaction of any kind. By the end of the 103 minutes of film, Imogene comes to some fairly predictable conclusions about home and family that we’ve all seen before.

It’s not all bad – the undeniably talented cast are all given moments to shine, and they take a middle of the road script and make it into something better than it probably should be. The evolution of Imogene’s relationship with Lee, from her initial dislike of him into something romantic, was well done and pleasingly independent of Imogene’s own character development. It wasn’t used as the resolution to all of her problems and that was refreshing to see.

If you’re a fan of Darren Criss and like the idea of him wearing eyeliner, singing Backstreet Boys songs and playing a character who is well out of high school for a change, then I’d definitely recommend seeing it. Everyone else? It’s a harmless way to pass a couple of hours, inoffensive but ultimately only okay.

At least one of those stars can be attributed to Darren’s hotness. Maybe two.

Girl Most Likely is in UK cinemas on 27th September 2013

Ruby Sparks – Film Review

Lonely writer Calvin (Paul Dano) is struggling to write his second novel when he starts to dream about a young woman. Finally inspired he starts to write the book of their first meeting and subsequent romance. Much to his surprise the girl from his novel appears in his kitchen completely unaware that she is a fictional creation. At first all is well with the enigmatic Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) but when the cracks in their relationship start to show Calvin finds himself tempted to “tweak” his dream girl by writing more about her. And you thought your boyfriend was controlling.

On the surface Ruby Sparks comes across as yet another typical indie film in which an unattractive male snares a beautiful but damaged manic pixie dream girl but there is much more to the film than that. Ruby Sparks is actually seeming to comment on the very nature of the manic pixie dream girl as the idealised romantic interest for nerds. The film goes to show that these women of fantasy are real, have flaws, and deserve to be treated as full human beings rather than whimsical ideas capable of brightening an otherwise dull existence.

While funny throughout Ruby Sparks is not an out-and-out comedy. Once Calvin and Ruby have settled into a relationship a rather dark idea starts to permeate the film; if you could “fix” your partner would you? Should you? Calvin has Ruby in the most controlling type of relationship, one in which if he wants her to love him differently he can make it so simply by typing it. The scene in which this level of control comes to a head is intense, unsettling, and a little heartbreaking. It is not uncommon in life to love someone and yet somehow hurt them more than you would anyone else.

Zoe Kazan has written a truly intriguing tale looking not just at the way women can be reduced in the male writer’s mind to a collection of quirks with no feelings, but also at the way some people try to control those they love the most. Kazan has taken on the title role herself and puts in an impressive performance as the ever-changing Ruby Sparks. Despite the changing personality there is a single coherent character present. One that both conforms to the manic pixie dream girl stereotype and tries to break out beyond it.

Other people with more impressive names are in this film but it is all down to Kazan and Dano. It is easy to sympathise with both even as one becomes an oppressor and the other simply doesn’t really exist.

Ruby Sparks is in UK cinemas 12th October 2012

And the Winner is… Golden Globes 2011

On Monday morning the Golden Globes were awarded to some deserving recipients in the film categories, and some less deserving recipients in the TV categories.

The Social Network, our 2nd best film of 2010, picked up Best Score, Best Drama, Best Director and Best Screenplay in a clear sweep of all but the acting awards. No arguments there, it is a great film that goes way beyond being a Facebook movie.

The Kid’s Are All Right did well out of the Golden Globes’ bizarre system of splitting films into drama and comedy/musical for a few categories. While the directors all go head to head the actors and films don’t have to. With The Kid’s Are All Right being classed as a comedy (not a drama?) it was an easy win in Best Comedy for the wonderful Annette Bening in Best Actress.

In the drama acting categories the vibe was set for future award ceremonies with Colin Firth and Natalie Portman taking the top honours. Two very deserving wins and two lovely acceptance speeches, now Firth is sure to get a BAFTA now and they could both do well at the Oscars.

The Fighter also did well for itself in a supporting manner, winning Best Supporting Actor and Actress in two categories that were not split into drama and comedy/musical. Not sure where the HFPA draw the line at which categories to split and which require comedians and dramatic actor to battle it out. Regardless, having not seen The Fighter, I feel like some personal favourites had their award taken from them.

Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Film in the most predictable category of the night… there really is nothing more to say on that.

TV went crazy, Glee is not the best comedy, Boardwalk Empire not the best Drama and Jim Parsons, Chris Colfer, Laura Linney and Steve Buscemi did not put in the best performances this year. Katey Sagal I can’t comment on and Jane Lynch is the exception as someone who was easily one of the best in her category. A couple of these awards looked a lot like rewarding movie actors for doing TV to encourage them to keep going, rather than judging the actual performances.

Next up: The BAFTAs!

The Kids Are All Right – Review

At last I make the time to go and see The Kids Are All Right, a film with all sorts of praise that I somehow knew very little about. Admittedly I saw it a week ago and have somehow managed not to review it, because it’s hard for some reason.

It is well written, directed and acted. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore make a great natural couple and Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska are just as good as their well adjusted but curious children. Mark Ruffalo makes a wonderful idiot, filled with good intention but no real sense of responsibility.

The film is very funny for the most part but not afraid to pack the emotional punch as the drama starts to flow in a nice, understated way.

Somehow The Kids Are All Right felt like a very tactile experience, everything had texture and lacked too much gloss and glamour. Certainly worth a watch though it is a nice surprise to see Oscar buzz around a more low-key film.