Definitely Not

So I think the idea with the free film screening tickets that Sal and I use from time to time is that everyone who sees the film goes off and spreads the word. Sadly, that only works if the film is any good.

Last week we went over to the Dome or whatever it’s called these days and fought our way through the crowds of Spice Girls’ fans to get to the cinema to see Juno, which proved to be very good indeed. But given that it has already picked up a bunch of nominations for awards ceremonies that probably won’t happen, I don’t think that anything Sal or I can do for the film is going to make much difference to its overall takings.

On the other hand, if the film isn’t so hot, then surely the advance screenings can do more harm than good…

Tonight we headed over to Bayswater to see Definitely, Maybe, a new romantic comedy from Working Title, the people who brought you such “gems” as Love, Actually and Four Weddings

Let’s just say that I won’t be recommending this one to any of my friends, or indeed anyone on the internet either. If any of my enemies are reading, though, then I can recommend a great way to spend 90 minutes of your life that you will never get back…

Before the film, we were accosted by some PR people who gave us some wristbands (which might just be the world’s worst promotional items, given that they don’t actually feature the name of the film on them), and told us that they’d be recording people’s reactions afterwards (presumably these are the ones featuring gushing morons that get shown on the TV ads). I therefore spent most of the film composing the review that I might have given them, if I’d had a chance, but sadly Sal quickly dragged me past the camera as we left, and I was unable to tell them just what I thought. So here goes:

Perhaps the best thing that I can say about Definitely, Maybe is that it’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly well placed in my personal top 10 worst films ever (alongside classics like the aforementioned Love, Actually, and the utter stinker that was Love, Honour and Obey). I knew it was going to be terrible about 10 minutes in, when the main character picks up his precocious stage school brat of a daughter from school, and starts recounting the story of his love life to her…

It’s a derivative, sloppy, shabby, rom-com by numbers that fails to be either particularly romantic or much of a comedy (to be fair, I almost laughed twice) and thinks it’s a lot cleverer than it really is. The characters aren’t really characters, more thinly drawn stereotypes, and the plot is generic rom-com fare. (There’s also a whole bit about one of the characters obsessively looking in New York’s second hand bookshops for a particular copy of a particular book that has an inscription written in it. Um, haven’t I seen that film before, and wasn’t it called Serendipity last time?)

Oh, and did I mention that the film is really sloppily edited? In one scene, Isla Fisher is making cups of tea for her and Ryan Reynolds. She gets the teabags out and puts them in the mugs, then the shot cuts over to him for a second and when it cuts back to Isla she goes over to the cupboard and gets out two mugs and then puts the teabags into them… In a later scene, in what is supposed to be 1997, Ryan and Isla sit in a cafe where the radio is playing Belle and Sebastian’s The Boy With The Arab Strap (a song that wasn’t released until 2000…) [I take this back–as pointed out below it was released in 1998…]

I also found it surprising that, considering that for the majority of the film we are watching the story that Ryan Reynolds is telling to his obnoxious daughter, he still manages to include in this story a scene he isn’t in, which is rather impressive (perhaps the other characters had filled him in on it afterwards?)

All of which made it rather fitting that, as the film ends, it plays what purports to be a relatively new Badly Drawn Boy song (The Time of Times) that sounds almost exactly like an old Badly Drawn Boy song (The Shining).

So, um, yeah. Two thumbs up from me. A must see…

In another bit of excitement, as we left the cinema we popped into the Whiteley’s branch of Marks and Spencer, where we spotted a small black mouse running around underneath the shelves in the bakery section. (“This is not just a rodent infestation, this is an M&S rodent infestation…”?)

Let’s just say that we only bought stuff from off of the top shelves, and we checked the packaging very carefully for bite marks…

2 thoughts on “Definitely Not”

  1. The Boy With The Arab Strap was released in September 1998. I know because I had the promo poster in my room at uni, having nicked it from the press release…

  2. Damn. You’re right. I thought I checked but I obviously looked at some dodgy information. (I’m blaming Wikipedia…)

    It’s still a shit film, though.

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