Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Apprentice Writer is fascinated by the phenomenon of identical twin movies.  You know, the ones thAT seem to share the same DNA in terms of logline yet seem worlds apart in execution.  Examples previously reviewed in this space were the drudging No Strings Attached vs. the unexpectedly entertaining Friends With Benefits.

Today's Installments:  In one corner, The Change Up.  In the other Crazy Stupid Love.

Both involve a devoted husband/father figure suddenly plucked out of his regular role (one by body-switching magic, the other by spouse who chooses to separate) and plunged into the role of free-to-look-at-other-women bachelor (one by landing inside the form of single best friend, the other by being taken under the wing of mega ladies man).  It is no doubt clear to the Gentle Reader which one Apprentice Writer liked and which one she loathed.

The problem was not casting, given that she likes all four male leads.  She has no clue whether Jason Bateman or Steve Carell actually are dads in real life, but she completely accepted them in those roles.  She is also very fond of Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling, and no, it's not just because they are fellow Canucks.  It's because she thought RR did a great job in The Proposal and RG did a great job in any movie she's ever seen him in.

The problem also wasn't premise, because she is willing in the case of books and movies to accept story-based paranormal phenomena (although, it must be said, the method by which the body change occurs is stultifyingly juvenile and if AW had taken this as an indication of the quality of the film as a whole and stopped watching at that point she would have saved herself time and grief).

The problem was lack of good story, lack of good dialogue, lack of charm, and most importantly, lack of any sort of likability of any of the characters - all of which CSL had in abundance.  Apprentice Writer predicts that the scene between Emma Stone's character Hannah and Ryan Gosling's character Jacob (if you've seen the movie - you know the one) will become as iconic as Meg Ryan's in When Harry Met Sally.

The only part of TCU which AW liked was the following instruction from bachelor character to dad character about to embark on the singles scene and trying to make himself look good:  "This is called hair product.  Too little and you look like a pedophile.  Too much and you look Persian."  This made AW howl, because she is married to a Persian man. Though he is innocent of gel excess, she has been to many a party where other Persian men were guilty.  This cracked her up, not just because it was true, but at the indication that the Persian community (at least, in Los Angeles) is so sizeable and certain habits so well-known that Hollywood believes the joke will have meaning for mainstream audiences.

The only part of CSL that AW didn't like was the speech ending scene (just like she didn't like speech ending in Scent of a Woman), because of the sermonizing speech, because there was absolutely no reason for the babysitter and her parents to be at that graduation, and because of the squick factor of how things ended between the son and the sitter.  But she loved that things did not end in black and white for the married couple, and that the bachelor character didn't try to justify himself to the dad or go overboard in trying to be convincing about character change.  It made sense for his character, and it was good for the movie. It is, perhaps, significant that even Mr. Apprentice Writer recently quoted the movie during a mutual shopping trip when he urged AW to "...Be better than the Gap!" which made her laugh.

Altogether, AW is left with the certainty she will watch CSL repeatedly, and with the question:  which movie developed the concept first, and which one piggybacked? Was the original conceiver rewarded with the superior film, or did the hijacker actually do a better job with the pirated premise?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Insults of Note

Ever since Monty Python's Flying Circus famous insult culminating in "...and furthermore you smell of elderberries!", it has become a mark of honour to come up with a noteworthy insult.

Apprentice Writer would like to nominate one:

"The problem is, your head has the proportions of a styrofoam peanut."

Ryan Gosling's cool bachelor character to Steve Carrell's uncool divorced dad character during sunglasses shopping, in Crazy Stupid Love.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Of Love & Raptors

One of those great real-life-but-sounds-like-a-movie stories:

Falcons need help with their love life.

Just ask Dr. Jane Goodall, of the unimpeachable wildlife knowledge credentials.  One of the many books she write talked in part about the alarming plummet in raptor populations worldwide due to pesticide etc. use, and how tremendously difficult it is to help falcon pairs with their dating life so as to increase chances   of breeding.  The very funny scene in recent animated movie "Rio" when the macaw pair didn't take to each other and got some help from scientists to set the mood, with a disco ball and Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me", is apparently not all that far from the truth.

It turns out some falcon couples can manage just fine by themselves, after all - if they have a secret weapon.  That secret weapon is choice of real estate.  Turns out, "location, location, location" is just as important for our feathered friends as it is for us.

A falcon pair decided to nest, of all places, on a concrete windowsill of mega-publisher Harlequin's corporate headquarters in Toronto.  Not romantic, say you?  Think again, say the pair.  They've now produced chicks Blaze, Amorata, and Mira and have a twitter & live cam following #harlequinfalcons.

Love conquers all, as Harlequin's unofficial motto may always have been, including - or maybe especially - for species hovering at extinction.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Seen at Twitter:

"Let's have a moment of silence for all those people stuck in traffic on the way to the gym to ride stationary bicycles."

This delights Apprentice Writer as much as a newspaper photo she once saw of a large building in background with "GYM" sign, and in foreground a staircase going up to it (empty) as well as an escalator (full of people carrying their workout duffle bags).