Posts tagged "rom-com"

“The Broken Hearts Gallery” A surprisingly fun rom-com

September 11th, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““The Broken Hearts Gallery” A surprisingly fun rom-com”

“The Broken Hearts Gallery,” written and directed by Natalie Krinsky is a light and easy romantic comedy that tackles our obsessions with past relationships. Geraldine Viswanathan stars as Lucy Gulliver, a young woman who takes and hoards memorabilia from boyfriends past, but this obsession gets out of control. Seeking a way to move on, she inadvertently creates a gallery for others like her to leave a momento from a relationship allowing them to move on.

We meet Lucy as a teen, bookended by her besties Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo), as the ever-romantic Lucy has yet another breakup. Fast forward 8 years and still, surrounded by her BFFs, Lucy gushes about her current and unknowingly soon-to-be ex boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar). The inevitable happens, but serendipity also intercedes as Lucy, distraught from her discovery that Max is cheating on her, finds Nick (Dacre Montgomery).

The circumstances under which Nick and Lucy meet begin our comedic romantic journey. The two find a friendship and help one another work toward a common goal, mutually beneficial as Lucy’s background in art enables Nick to continue his dream of building a boutique hotel and she, a place to house her new-found and growing exhibition. Their relationship begins as friends, allowing them both to be open and candid about their pasts. Nick calls Lucy out on her crazy hoarding and Lucy is the positive influence Nick needs to get over barriers. It’s a natural feeling interaction with a sweetness that hooks you.

Interspersed within this story are outtakes of interviews with people who are donating their cherished items to the Broken Hearts Gallery. They tell their stories of loss and their newly found ability to look to the future. It’s a charming addition to this rather predictable story, adding an element of connection to the overall theme.

Viswanathan, full of energy and ready to shine as the lead actress in this film, shows us she can carry this load. Her natural, off-the-cuff style gives her a credible and realistic performance; she could easily be your quirky friend in real life. Unfortunately, Viswanathan’s power frequently overshadows Montgomery who has a much softer and low-key type of performance. He’s handsome and exhibits a vulnerability which counterbalances the character of Lucy, but he needed a bit more amplification to level the scales.

The supporting cast is there to do exactly that, support, but Arturo Castro who plays Nick’s best friend, is a gem on the screen, stealing every scene he’s in. Pairing him with Randy (Megan Ferguson) as his wife was genius as they play off one another to create more hilarious spots. And Gordon and Soo find the right tone to remind us about the importance of girl friends even though much of their performances are exaggerated and sometimes raunchy for comedic effects.

The film is definitely written from a female’s perspective. Lucy, Amanda, Nadine, and Randy, Marcos’ pregnant wife, vocalize the inner thoughts and conversations that women have. It was a struggle at times to believe some of the reactions from the characters of Nick and Max as the actors didn’t even seem to believe what was coming out of their mouths. Krinsky also throws a few political punches which will either make you laugh or anger you, depending upon which side of the fence your beliefs lie.

“The Broken Hearts Gallery,” like all rom-coms, isn’t meant to be real. It’s what fairy tales are made of and it’s pure escapism. While the running time is a bit long, the story does take all the expected turns while we laugh and chuckle along the way, rooting for Lucy to make the right choices and live happily every after.

*In theaters only

3 stars

“Fisherman’s Friends” An uplifting feel-good comedy based on a true story

July 21st, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Fisherman’s Friends” An uplifting feel-good comedy based on a true story”

If you’re looking for a feel good, sweet romantic comedy that is based upon a true story, then look no further. “Fisherman’s Friends” is exactly what you’re looking for. In Cornwall, England, a group of 10 fishermen who sing to pass the time and occasionally entertain the townspeople, find themselves an unexpected recording sensation. Of course, with movie-making magic, there’s more to the story than meets the eye in this romantic comedy with a flare for fun and music.

Watch the trailer here

We meet Danny (Daniel Mays) and his buddies, all big shot executives at Universal Records in London, as they are vacationing (and standing out like a sore thumb) in the quaint fishing village of Cornwall. Danny and his friends are like fish out of water in this town as they strut along in tight leather jackets ordering high end beers and driving a large vehicle on streets designed for horses. After making waves, the young men spot a group of fishermen singing along the shore for the entertainment of the community. Danny, unimpressed, is duped into thinking his colleagues love this new genre of music and is charged with getting the 10 men to sign on for a new record label. As Danny earns their trust, and not so easily, of these tightly knit men and their families, he learns of the joke that’s been played.

The very likes of someone like Danny sets up plenty of pratfalls and insider jokes that no matter how much we predict that they will happen, we laugh anyway. While you can easily see the writing on the wall and know how this tale is going to end, it’s the convincing and loving portrayal of the characters that endears us to the story. Danny isn’t your typical leading man and each and every fisherman could have easily been pulled directly from the boat and cast in a role bringing a level of reality to the film. The scenes and narrative are set, but never do they feel contrived. But it is the chemistry and reactions between each and every character that feels absolutely authentic. From Maggie (Maggie Steed) tending bar and sitting as the matriarch of the family to Jim (James Purefoy) protecting not just his daughter from the London city slicker, but his fishing family as well.

Between Danny’s attempts at convincing the a cappella singers to sign and learning that they’ve all been duped by Universal Records, there’s a sweet love story that unfolds between Tamsyn (Meadow Nobrega), Jim’s daughter, and the fast-talking outsider amidst all of the comedic chaos. Tamsyn sees right through Danny, but as he gets more deeply entrenched in the traditions of these community members’ lives, he changes which allows a natural connection to develop between he and Tamsyn. With a few additional side stories of financial and health issues, each of these stories intertwine to give us a charmingly sweet story that is unexpectedly emotional and engaging.

While I mentioned the authenticity of the cast which is vital to bringing this story to life, Mays leads the way in this film. He elicits disdain from us with his portrayal of Danny, initially, but ingratiates himself as he allows he follows his heart and connects with the townspeople. Mays finds a way to be pompous and condescending on the outside, only to peel those superficial layers away to reveal who he really is. It’s a gradual change, again accentuating the believability of the story.

Of course, in a film about music and musicians, the a cappella songs are fun and capture the soul of those who rely on the sea for their livelihood. Filmed in the town where the actual band originated brings us even closer to this fishing village and the atmosphere. With all of these elements brought together in perfect harmony, “Fisherman’s Friends” is good old-fashioned fun. Yes, it’s predictable, but its lightheartedness and sweetness is just what the doctor ordered in these trying times. Escape and have some fun with “The Fisherman’s Friends” streaming on Amazon and all major digital platforms beginning July 24.

3 Stars

“Extra Ordinary” blends rom-com-horror perfectly

March 15th, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Extra Ordinary” blends rom-com-horror perfectly”

What happens when the lives of a paranormal communicator, a widower, and a narcissistic musical has-been converge? You get an “extraordinary” story filled with laughs and love sprinkled with a peppering of gruesome gore.

Watch the trailer here

Mike Ahern and Edna Loughman team up to direct Maeve Higgins as “Rose,” a lonely, guilt-ridden Irish driving instructor who wants to forget about her “talent” of reaching out to the dearly departed. Her talents are needed, however, as Martin Martin (Barry Ward) asks for help in exorcising his nagging dead wife. Initially refusing, Rose feels a spark between herself and Martin, but when his daughter becomes a possible virgin sacrifice for the one-hit wonder Christian Winter (Will Forte), Rose dives in head first, attempting to rekindle her skills she learned from her father, the former leader and television star in paranormal activity.

This dark comedy hits all the right notes from start to finish. The confusing initial scene, soon explained, introduces us to Rose’s father who also had the talent of perceiving those left behind in a state of limbo. We then meet Rose and her sister Sailor (Terri Chandler) reminiscing about their father’s untimely death. Rose, a sweet woman who could be everyone’s best friend, lives a simple life as a driving instructor, but the townspeople know she is destined to walk in her father’s footsteps. Flashing back in time, we learn more about her upbringing and her relationships which are all filled with bittersweet humor connecting us even more deeply with Rose. And when she falls for Martin Martin, she becomes our hero, and we root for her every step of the way.

The story unfolds in three parts: Martin’s ghostly situation which effects his teenage daughter; Winter’s deal with the devil; and Rose’s life intersecting with both Martin and Winter. This is when the horrific yet comedic story shifts into high gear.

“Extra Ordinary” is a quirky yet exceptionally engaging film thanks to a succinct script and skilled performances. Higgins, Ward, and Forte as well as Claudia O’Doherty who portrays Winter’s wife, gel as a well-formed comedy troupe, all playing off of one another’s chemistry with perfection. Forte’s over-the-top “Winter” is hysterical, particularly as his tolerance is pushed by his wife’s superficially selfish demands. Ward stands out in this film as he embodies or takes on the attributes of many different characters. Using nuanced physical and vocal attributes of others is key to believing that what you’re seeing and hearing is actually another person.

The balance in the story, particularly if you’re not a huge fan of the horror genre, is what makes this a film that will appeal to everyone. It’s really more of a comedy, with an underlying love story and just the right amount of horror. And with a few references to “Ghostbusters” and other iconic supernatural movies, this horror film is refreshingly fun. There aren’t many films in this genre you can say that about!

The film is currently playing in theaters and is still available to see at the Gene Siskel Film Center with limited seats and “social distancing” procedures in effect. For more information go to: Siskel Film Center

3 1/2 stars

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