Friday, June 11, 2010

A Life Less Ordinary: A Classic Review

"Kidnapping. Blackmail. Extortion. Karaoke.
What some people will do for love."

The year was 1999, and I was 13 years old. I went to see Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in theatres with my dad. A face unknown to me at the time captured my pubescent heart... and I was in love. The target of my new obsession? Ewan McGregor. As any loyal reader knows, this love-affair continues to this day.

So at age 13, I begged my parents to take me to the local video store. In I went, on a mission, perusing my printed out list of Ewan's filmography. I wanted to see everything he'd ever done.

The first one I found is the one that stuck with me the most. The one I've rewatched the most times, and the one I special ordered on eBay. A Life Less Ordinary (1997). This film is actually Ewan's second partnering with director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 1996).

It was a film unlike any other I'd ever seen (at the time). It was a dark comedy, with fantasy elements thrown in, and a whirlwind love story. It was my introduction to the "we hate each other, no wait - we love each other" romantic plotline.

I was also surprised to find a familiar face in the film - Ms. Cameron Diaz, looking very 90s.

Ewan stars as Robert, a cleaning duy who is dumped, laid off, and evicted, all in the same day. In his blind rage he bursts into his boss' office with a gun, and kidnaps the boss' spoiled daughter, Celine (Diaz), who has just been informed she is about to be cut off from Daddy's dough. They go on the run together, and Robert soon realizes that Celine is just as eager to extort money from her father as he is, and they band together on their mission.

Meanwhile, two angels in charge of human relationships (Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo) are chewed out by the angel Gabriel (Dan Hedaya) for their failings in bringing happiness to lovers on Earth, and told they have one last chance to succeed, or else face permanent expulsion from heaven. Their targets - Robert and Celine.

This movie takes you on many twists and turns, and makes you question absolutely everyone's intentions, including the angels, and gives you a really different view on falling in love, and the concept of ones destiny.

It's funny, sexy, dark, mysterious, and silly - as proven by an unforgettable scene in a karaoke  bar.

To get a good overview of the tone of this movie, I present you with the Tempting Trailer.

And of course, this review wouldn't be complete without showing you the scene that starts the whole ball rolling. Something we've all wished we could do at some point - storm in on our bosses and call them jerks.

This movie did poorly upon its initial release, but it's starting to develop a cult following because of the elements of fantasy and dark humour. If you haven't seen it, check it out and report back with your thoughts.

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