Thursday, 5 January 2012

Film Review: A LIFE LESS ORDINARY (1997)

A Life Less Ordinary - poster Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Romance/Drama
UK Release date: 24th October 1997

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 5th January 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have to admit that for some time now I have been a bit of a fan of the work of Danny Boyle. As such, I’m made it a bit of a mission to take a look at as much of his back catalogue as I can whenever they are shown on TV. So this is how I came to watch this one. I have to say it’s not the best film I’ve seen associated with his name, but it’s passable. More of my thoughts after this very brief summary.

A Life Less Ordinary - 6 We start in heaven (where else), where two angels, O'Reilly and Jackson, are given their last chance to, let’s say, facilitate a couple falling in love. It’s a tough case; two people from very different backgrounds. First there’s Robert Lewis who’s a cleaner (& a writer in his spare time) who has just lost his job and been dumped by his girlfriend. Then there’s Celine Naville a rich socialite whose father wants her to go to work for him. They are thrown together when Robert goes to see Celine’s father to demand his job back and things go slightly wrong. He ends up kidnapping Celine and taking her to a cabin in the wilderness. He really doesn’t have a clue and Celine ends up taking the lead; deciding she may as well try to get some money out of her father. Meanwhile, O’Reilly and Jackson are hired by Celine’s father to find them. As you can see, it’s getting a bit complicated already and we’re only part-way through! I’ll leave it there though or the Spoiler Police (confusing plots division) will have me kidnapped in amusing circumstances (again).

A Life Less Ordinary - 1 A well made film that has the beginnings many of the hallmarks of Boyle’s latter works. Some interesting ideas thrown in, some that worked and some that didn’t, but then I see it as a bit of a stepping stone for Boyle. Nice performances all round; Ewan McGregor did a decent job as Robert Lewis, although his haircut is pretty bizarre! Cameron Diaz did a great job as Celine; it’s the kind of role she’s pretty comfortable in. I thought both Holly Hunter as O’Reilly and Delroy Lindo as Jackson were excellent. Honourable mentions must also go to; Ian McNeice as Mayhew, Frank Kanig as Ted, Stanley Tucci as Elliot Zweikel, Tony Shalhoub as Al and Ian Holm as Naville (Celine’s father).

A Life Less Ordinary - 2 Although I’m a fan of Danny Boyle’s work, I’m afraid this one failed to hit the mark (for me). I found the plot far too over-complicated, almost like they were trying to fit far too many ideas in all at once. To me it would have been much more interesting to see the story from the point of view of O’Reilly and Jackson, but then I guess I’m not a screenwriter (yet). Yes, there were some nice touches, for instance, I loved the song and dance routine in the bar; very funny. Over all though, it’s one I’ll have to sit on the fence as far as recommendation goes; it’s kind of in the middle there somewhere.

My score: 5.7/10

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 20,915 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0119535/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 39/100 (based on 36 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 56/100 (based on 52,726 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/life_less_ordinary/

A Life Less Ordinary - 4 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Celine: Remember what they didn't teach you at Harvard Business School.
Robert: I didn't go to Harvard Business School!
Celine: That's a figure of speech, Robert.

Celine: If word got around that I had been liberated for half a million dollars, I could never show my face in polite society again. Diamonds have no value except that which is placed upon them.

A Life Less Ordinary - 5 Tod: Do you think that I'd talk to a dog? Do you think I'd ask a dog whether you're good or evil? What do you think I am? Some kind of crazy backwoods lunatic with a barn full of human skulls and a scythe that I sharpen every day in readiness for Armageddon?
Robert: No, no, not at all, I'm sure you're just a regular kind of guy.
Tod: Right, I'm regular, I am a regular man. I want... but that's not the point! The point is, who are YOU? WHO ARE YOU?

A Life Less Ordinary - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

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