Yesterday, after celebrating Erica Dagley's birth, I went to work, stayed for an hour, and promptly headed back home in the throes of a tornado-like sickness involving exhaustion and nausea. Add to that the undying humidity that is slowly trying to kill me, and I nearly passed out on the subway platform.
The good news? I didn't pass out! And today I feel better! And yesterday I got to intermittently nap while watching movie after movie on my couch...
I frequent the film blogging site Scene Stealers, and last week one of their newest contributors, Vincent Scarpa, wrote an interesting post about the romantic comedy genre and the mostly awful offerings it's littered with. However, Scarpa actually loves romcoms and recommends two particular films that "both evidence all that a romantic comedy can achieve while also operating outside of the clichés that the modern romcom seems to attach to."
Me? I, too, love romcoms and completely agree with his first recommendation of Bridget Jones's Diary. The movie is a flat-out comedy in its own right, with a great romantic triangle storyline (though pretty much based on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice) and Bridget Jones herself is so disastrous but likeable. Honestly, Bridget Jones is the only movie I've really liked Renee Zellweger in - and she totally deserved that Oscar nomination for it.
Happily agreeing with Scarpa on his first choice, I realized I hadn't even heard of his second nomination: Ira & Abby. And yesterday, in my couch-ridden healing process, I queued up the movie on Netflix Instant Watch (via Jesse's XBOX - I never though I would actually love a video game console!), and settled in.
I loved it! And also recommend it. Apparently it was straight-to-DVD! Jennifer Westfeldt, whose movie Kissing Jessica Stein I absolutely loved when I saw it in college (she wrote & starred in it), also wrote and stars in Ira & Abby. Oh, you may also know that Jon Hamm is her boyfriend, and has been since 1997. In fact, he has a bit part in this pre-Don Draper 2006 film. As a grungy ex-heroin addict! (Note: he's still disgustingly gorgeous.)
Here's the first thing I liked about it: you ever notice that the men in romantic comedies are usually perfect? Like, a real catch? Even if they seem like crap at first, they usually have a heart of gold? (See: Hugh Jackman's Eddie in Someone Like You). And that makes sense because women are the main audience for such movies, and you want your audience to want the guy - a miraculously perfect guy that exists no where in reality. Ira is probably the furthest from perfect dude ever in a romcom. He's so neurotic, dependent on therapy, and borderline infantile, that you kind of want to cringe at him, this supposed romantic hero.
But as a couple, Ira and Abby make sense. This isn't a movie about two people coming together by the end to live happily ever after, this is about two people who decide to be a couple and the trials and tribulations of a relationship. A will they/won't they stay together as opposed to get together. It has serious notes, for sure, and I enjoyed the push and pull of the story. Both lead characters are a little weird in their own ways, but ways that make them much more accessible in reality - they're not the flat, 2D characters usually portrayed in the genre.
I actually don't care to say much more about the film, because you should add it to your Netflix Instant Watch or buy it or what have you. It has some fabulous lines, lines that have stuck with me even today. (Also: Scarpa's review contains lots of spoilers, so don't read it before watching it! I also skipped that portion until I had seen the movie.) Has anybody else seen the movie? Thoughts?