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  I Could Never Be Your Woman Pfeiffer Pfabulous At Pfifty!
Year: 2007
Director: Amy Heckerling
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd, Saoirse Ronan, Stacey Dash, Fred Willard, Jon Lovitz, Sarah Alexander, Tracey Ullman, Yasmin Paige, Rory Copus, O.T. Fagbenle, Jayden Berry-Garvey, Graham Norton, David Mitchell, Steve Pemberton
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Newly-divorced writer-producer, Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer) relies on precocious daughter, Izzie (Saoirse Ronan) to keep up with hot trends and hip lingo needed for her cheesy, teen sitcom “You Go Girl.” With a stroppy star (Stacey Dash) and slimy producer (Fred Willard) constantly on her back, Rosie hires gifted comedian, Adam (Paul Rudd) to breathe new life into the ailing show, and winds up falling for the much-younger man. This May-December romance is doomed to failure, according to Mother Nature (Tracey Ullman), the spirit who follows Rosie everywhere moaning she should act her age. Meanwhile, Izzie has her own unrequited crush to contend with, and scheming secretary Jeannie (Sarah Alexander) plots to undo Rosie and Adam’s already fraught relationship.

Made a good few years ago, this rom-com vehicle for the ageless Michelle Pfeiffer appears to have been shelved prior to her comeback with Stardust (2007). While not quite a train wreck, given the talent and huge likeability of those involved, this is a movie that really should have been better. Things get off to a dodgy start with Ullman’s Mother Nature railing against the Baby Boom generation like a shrill, Jewish agony aunt, followed by a frankly grotesque opening credits sequence with pictures of botched facelifts.

Writer-director Amy Heckerling, who made Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) and the superb Clueless (1995), raises some interesting issues: double standards in the dating game, women’s anxieties over body image and aging, the “natural world” vs. a post-Sixties social environment; but the central romance goes nowhere, slowly and spending time with the hopelessly neurotic, self-obsessed heroine engenders severe claustrophobia. A few of Heckerling’s satirical arrows hit their target, with digs at aging culture vultures, vapid TV execs, and easy prey Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

The ever-watchable Paul Rudd easily steals scenes with his good-natured buffoonery, including some memorably klutzy dance moves (Modern Comedy’s Golden Rule: if in doubt, cut to some goofy dancing) and an attempt to seduce Rosie to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Ben.” Equally worth watching is Oscar-nominated Atonement (2007) star Saoirse Ronan, who makes crank calls to Henry Winkler, bad-mouths Britney in song, marvels at a Disneyesque little girl’s guide to their first period, and picks a fight with a fat bloke. She is a riot, even if it's disconcerting when Izzie argues for the right to have sex when she turns fifteen. Fans of The Sarah Jane Adventures and Christmas drama Ballet Shoes (2007) should keep an eye out for the talented Yasmin Paige as Izzie’s pre-teen partner in crime.

Set in Los Angeles, but shot in London, this has Quadrophenia (1979) cinematographer Brian Tufano mimicking the sunny, California climbs with his appealing day-glow, cartoon-like hues, plus a plethora of British comedy talent: Graham Norton, David Mitchell, The League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton, and Smack the Pony hottie Sarah Alexander. Everyone gives their all, but the film remains formless, torn between formulaic rom-com antics and slightly mean-spirited satire. Typically for a Amy Heckerling production, the pop soundtrack is excellent even though, yes, it does feature Nineties’ one-hit wonder White Town performing the title track.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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