Sunday, 17 August 2014

American Dreamz (2006)

I haven't been around much I know. And when I have leave from work the workload in my life seems to get worse, if that is possible. Because while I am working, I give myself some slack. And when I am working we don't take up the more time-consuming home projects. And I don't try to get my son out of the house as often as I possibly can to distract him from becoming hyper through not enough stimulation.

But I am now going to brush all that aside and talk about today's post. Whether I am working or not, I do not often find enough me-time at one go to enjoy watching a new film. Because when I watch a film I've never seen before, I have to watch it from beginning to end, and also with no distractions.

Therefore I only yesterday finally managed to see American Dreamz (2006), a film I bought a while ago to add to my Hugh Grant collection but which to be honest, I did not have very high hopes for given I had not read any good reviews about it. On the other hand, the fact that it was directed by Paul Weitz who happened to also co-direct About A Boy (my favourite film of all time) with his brother, had me hoping to be impressed.

And impressed I was, I must say. Now I have to admit I am not a big fan of American comedy films such as American Pie or Scary Movie and would rather have more understated English jokes through witty use of language such as the kind found in scripts by Richard Curtis, than sit through a satire of the American Life. So when at the start of the film I was confronted with the more American approach (even very apparent in the way the story flits from one scene to the next and even from one side of the world to another) I braced myself for a thumb down on this film. (No wonder I'd bought the 2 film box set for Eur2, I thought).

I was intrigued by Hugh Grant's character Martin Tweed from the start (and not just because of good looks but most of all because of the ingenuity of Grant's performance as a self-loving personality with non-typical behaviour to a break-up that has you wondering what this guy is really like). I also liked (in the sense that the character made sense and not in that I sympathized with) Mandy Moore's character's relationship with boyfriend William Williams (could they have made this imbecile into more of a laughing stock?).

I am not sure what the audience's reaction to the different characters is supposed to be. I am almost certain Martin Tweed is meant to be a revolting type but trust me to not only pity him but also marginally understand him. Same with Mandy Moore's character. The correct word for her would be (excuse my language) a bitch but I do understand where she's coming from when she first SPOILER ALERT dumps William. I would have done the same!

There are two more main characters in this film, neither of whom is worth a paragraph on here as they are stereotypes or rather, inverted stereotypes I must say, and too uninteresting in my opinion.

So what is it that makes this film tick for me? Well, Tweed's character is as 3D as they come. He might be someone who, as Moore's character tells him, gets so much ass-licking that he gets a treat out of finding someone who doesn't even try to butter him up, but he is a realistic big-shot deep down. In fact, his are the most honest and truthful insights to character in all the film and left me wondering was it maybe history (such as how he says his mother suggested he was a failure) that turned him into the cynical bastard that he tries to portray, an armour I believe, guarding his inner self. By the end of the film I was sure that I was in love with him, big ego and all.

Meanwhile, stepping away from Hugh's controversial character to another reason I loved this film: the last few minutes of the film wrap up the whole plot nicely in a literally sit-at-the-edge-of-your-seat finale, a finale that had my heart beating as hard as that of the characters in an uncomedic end. A sad ending really, but not sad as in bad filming. Rather, it was sad in a twisted ironic turn of events.

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