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The 100




Life Less Ordinary, A
(1997)
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 4 Beans

aybe it's the fact that I wanted to see this film so much, and I had to wait until it was released on video. Or maybe it's just that it isn't very good. In any case, "A Life Less Ordinary" was not the movie I was expecting. I don't think it's the movie anyone was expecting, actually, and I include most of the people involved in its production when I make that statement.

"But wait," you say, "isn't this film directed by Danny Boyle from a script by John Hodge, the infamous duo who brought us 'Trainspotting?'" Yes, I say, but it doesn't matter. There are glints of the style used in "Trainspotting" and "Shallow Grave," but they are buried in flashy scenery and shots of Cameron Diaz.

Robert (Ewan McGregor) is a janitor whose job is rendered useless by a new robot. He takes things into his own hands by kidnapping Celine (Cameron Diaz), the head of his corporation's daughter. As it turns out, Celine has been kidnapped before and trains Robert on proper kidnapping technique. This includes violent demands by phone and, eventually, karaoke and bank robbery. But one plot isn't enough for this film.

God has decided that there aren't enough people falling in love, the kind of love that lasts forever. He sends a mandate to his two best agents, O'Reilly (Holly Hunter) and Jackson (Delroy Lindo): If Celine and Robert don't fall in love, O'Reilly and Jackson have to stay on Earth. So they have to make this work by any means necessary. Inexplicably, the two resort to harrowing, violent measures rather quickly, such as having Robert dig his own grave and threatening to shoot him in the head when he is done. Also, various unpleasantries are visited upon O'Reilly, such as being run down by a truck.

So should "A Life Less Ordinary" have worked? That depends on whether or not the set-up for the film is solid, or if it is just as difficult as it sounds. The film has a few excellent scenes (the "Heaven" scenes in particular), and the cast is great: Holly Hunter (who makes the film worth watching all by herself), Delroy Lindo, Ian Holm, Tony Shaloub, Dan Hedaya, Ian McNeice, Stanley Tucci, the aforementioned Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz... so what happened? Everyone looks like they had a good time making this movie, but I didn't have quite as much fun watching it. "A Life Less Ordinary" is often fun, but mostly it is an interesting exercise in style rather than an entertaining film.






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