Sunday, September 27, 2009
People Magazine gave this a 1/2 star out of 5. It truly wasn't that bad.
Here are my thoughts.
Sandra Bullock's character is awkward and that is an understatement. This still-at-home-with-mom-and-dad crossword-puzzle-creator is an unique blend of Cliff Clavin (Cheers) Napoleon Dynamite and Pippi Longstocking. I struggled with whether to like Mary and cheer her on or to just be annoyed and laugh at her when she fell into the big hole. I ended up doing both.
Basic plot: Mary, due to outside pressures, thinks she needs to take her one last shot of normalcy by embracing (understatement) a blind date. When he comes to pick her up and turns out to be "hot" she does this creepy silent stare thing and runs back upstairs to put some sexy on. A truly awkward scene follows when she jumps Steve (Bradley Cooper), not after an okay date but before they even pull away from her folks' house. At first Steve is dazzled by the skin and enthusiasm but then he begins to think she might be crazy so he invents an excuse...a phone call sending him away. While he's attempting to get her out of the van before she truly goes crazy he mentions wishing she could go with him. More circumstances make that a possibility. Some may call it stalking, Mary calls it many, many other things in long paragraphs and polysyllabic words.
Mary is not just a person who talks all the time -- she's a walking encyclopedia of random facts -- and she ends up alienating loads of people on her quest to find Steve. Then she becomes a hero, accidentally, of course. Thomas Haden Church plays the annoying, selfish anchorman wanna-be and he eggs Mary on. Though I wasn't sure what his motivation was exactly his encouragement got Mary to relentlessly pursue Steve. Most of the characters are oddly eccentric, almost cartoonish, from Mary's parents to Haden Church's nemesis. It was almost as if the movie was an attempt to tell a quirky feel good story blended with a parody. It's one of the stranger films I've seen.
Content warnings. The groping scene in the beginning 20 minutes of so of the movie goes on too long and it should be screened before child/young teen viewing. That probably won't be an issue though since most children will likely get bored. Several sexual references are scattered throughout the film. One news story that Steve chases down involves a fight over amputating a baby girl's third leg and there are a few obvious body part innuendo/references. Some language. Some skin, mostly cleavage.
There are several amusing one-liners and descriptives and a pretty sweet tornado besides some great physical comedy and pratfalls. A few scenes are laugh-out-loud funny. Many, many more are shake-the-head shrug inspiring. I'll give it a 3 and I'll probably watch it again when it hits DVD, if for no other reason, to see if I understand it a little better. Maybe it will have that Napoleon Dynamite magic. I didn't like it the first time I watched it either.