Tuesday, October 23, 2018
This is an annoying movie. With annoying characters. I liked it. It’s filled with plenty of dialog like this:
“I thought you hated life.”
“I do. But I’m going to be dead for a long time, so there’s no rush.”
Frank (Keanu Reeves) runs marketing for J.D. Powers. He speaks in full sentences, using flowery words. He’s got some type of nasal condition. He’s intensely intellectual, relentlessly negative, self-absorbed, and unsympathetic. He’s annoying.
Lindsay is a lawyer who “prosecutes companies and institutions for culturally insensitive actions or speech.” She’s a compulsive Googler who can cite trivia even in life-threatening circumstances. She’s loquacious, hypersensitive, relentlessly negative, self-absorbed, and unsympathetic. She’s annoying.
You can see where this is going.
They meet on a claustrophobic airplane ride to San Luis Obispo, on the way to a “destination wedding” in nearby Paso Robles. (He says “Robe-less”; she says “Robe-ells.”) The groom is Frank’s half brother, whom he despises. The groom is also Lindsay’s former fiancé, who broke her heart. They have nothing in common, except they agree that the groom is an ass.
They hang on the periphery of the festivities, comparing notes about how much they hate life, and how much they hate the groom and his trophy betrothed. Trading insults and witticisms.
Oh, by the way. The whole movie is just Frank and Lindsay talking. That’s usually not my kind of thing. Actually, it’s not ever my type of thing. But we were several minutes into it before it dawned on me that we hadn’t heard anyone else speak, and weren’t ever going to. And by then I’d gotten over my initial annoyance with these two cynical twits.
Here’s a sample of what I ended up liking:
Lindsay: “Some marriages work out.”
Frank: “Yes, and some people have six fingers.”
Lindsay: “So I'm guessing you're single.”
Frank: “I decided to learn from my parents' mistakes. It's a form of evolution.”
Lindsay: “Yeah, but you can't blame people for believing their own lives will be different.”
Frank: “Yes, I can. It's incredibly egotistical. It might help you to consider the idea that heartbreak is pointless, because if you had wound up with the person, eventually, you would've been miserable anyway.”
Lindsay: “Actually that does help. Thank you.”
Frank: “No problem.”
Lindsay: “But don't you believe there's someone for everyone?”
Frank: “Close. I believe that there's nobody for anyone.”
OK. So they won’t win any awards for screenwriting. Some of it’s better, some of it’s lame, and some of it’s just overblown. But Reeves and Ryder are a good pairing. You believe the way they get under each other’s skin in their initial meeting. You buy how they grow closer (not a spoiler; you can’t help but know this from the start). It’s enjoyable just listening as they banter.
And there’s one interlude on a dusty hillside where you really appreciate what actors have to put themselves through in order to deliver a performance.