I thought I’d start out the New Year with a Little Known Movie You Need To See. This has to be one of the most original romantic comedies that I’ve seen in a long time. Neil (Cillian Murphy) is a film buff who runs a video rental store with his friends and lives his life based on the classics and B-movies. But one day, Violet (Lucy Liu) shows up in the store and completely changes his life around. Violet does everything in her power to turn Neil’s life upset down and chaotic, which is almost too much for him to handle. And unfortunately for Neil, Violet becomes like the girl who cried wolf, so he never really knows if whatever situation he’s in is actually real or staged.
To start with the acting, the only two you would recognize in this film are Cillian Murphy and Lucy Liu. But were they really some inspired casting choices or what? To see Cillian in a comedy was a sight to behold, and he really pulled off the movie buff dork very well. In fact, I haven’t felt so in tune with a character before this one. I really felt like I could really relate to him, because he was a lot like me (sadly enough). So whenever something uncomfortable happened to him that played on his gullibility, I felt uncomfortable, too (mostly because Lucy Liu’s character reminded me of a much more extreme version of one of my exes). And speaking of Lucy Liu, she was absolutely perfect for the role. It reminded me somewhat of her role in Lucky Number Slevin, except not as hyper and much more out-there. But both played their roles very well.
And then there’s the supporting cast who are always around and made me wonder why none of them are bigger stars, because they were all pretty funny. One of my favorite scenes involved them trying to figure out what scene a movie was stopped at just by looking at the tape reel inside the VHS cassette. And then there’s all the little movie conversations that are had throughout. This really is a movie for movie lovers, as there are all sorts of references and what have you, even in the background with movie posters. I even saw a magazine sitting in the background that had an image of Oh Dae-su from Oldboy. It’s just detailed stuff like that that when you catch it, it makes it that much better.
If I have any issues with the movie, there are only two, and one is much more minor than the other. To start with the minor issue, there’s a scene toward the end that’s a crying montage from Cillian Murphy that almost killed it for me. The crying was so over-the-top and ridiculous that it totally took me out of the movie. There’s a similar crying moment at the beginning, too, but it’s the montage toward the end that got to me. The more major issue was the plot… or lack thereof. There really isn’t a tight plot to pull everything together. It’s mostly just random antics from Violet toward Neil, and you’re just watching and wondering if it’s real this time or not. HOWEVER, it is all made up for at the end when there’s a nice little twist that suddenly has everything make sense. It’s just awkward to have you wait the entire movie before you realize what the plot was. To get all English-y on you, it’s kind of like writing a research paper and waiting until the end to introduce the thesis statement: sure you can do it, but it takes a talent to pull it off correctly. And did this movie pull it off? For the most part, yeah.
So if you’re a fan of Cillian Murphy (and who isn’t?), and you would like to see him do a comedy, I’d check this out. It’s not your average movie experience at all, which is ironic because the whole thing is about and an homage to movies. I thought it was great, anyway.
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