Wed, May 05, 2004

: 13 Going on 30

I really really liked this movie! The critics compared it to a mediocre Big and we’re impressed, but I thought it was great. It’s obviously not a life-changing sort of film, but it’s fun, clever, and very entertaining. Jennifer Garner is a vision and delight and displays some amazing comedic acting chops, somehow channeling a 13-year-old girl inside her adult body. The story itself is predictable: an awkward 13-year-old girl wishes she were a mature 30 and wakes up 17 years later. She’s still 13 in her mind but has the body and career of a 30-year-old. Humor is gleaned from this mismatch, of course, but heart comes through when the innocent inner girl changes the cold-hearted bitch the 30-year-old had become. It’s light-hearted fun, but Garner brings a warm sincerity to the role that makes it charming and wonderful. It can be trite or sacchrine at times, but overall it’s pleasant and just plain entertaining. Highly recommended for the children in all of us.

Topic: [/movie]

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: The Eyre Affair

Author: Jasper Fforde

Fascinating book and hilariously witty idea. This is a story set in a fictional world where literature is all-important and reality is flexible. It’s a bit Harry Potterish, in that sense. But instead of magic, this is just fanciful strangeness, usually with grammatical humor. For instance, one of the characters, an encentric scientist, modifies the DNA of bookworms to turn them into a thesaurus. You feed them text and they read it, producing ampersands and apostrophes as a waste product! The main story is about Thursday Next, a Literary Detective, who’s out to catch the fiend who’s been messing with great novels. When the fiend kidnaps Jane out of Jane Eyre, Thursday must go into the novel to stop him. This sounds and is terrific, but unfortunately so much happens in this novel that’s not part of the main plot that I found it difficult to keep motivated reading. The main story would probably take less than 100 pages: the book’s 350. Some of the other stuff is really interesting and funny, but there’s a bit too much unrelated stuff going on and the main story lags. Still, it’s a brilliant idea and the characters are cool. Jasper’s written several sequels which I shall definitely be reading.

Topic: [/book]

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: Duplex

Director: Danny Devito

Another black comedy from the director who brought us Throw Mama From the Train (I liked it, but I love black comedies). Like most of these kinds of films it’s uneven, but it has some really funny moments. Overall I liked it, especially the ending, but unfortunately the tone of the film feels negative. It’s not always fun to watch because so many bad things happen it feels like it’s too much. The basic plot is this: a young couple buy a duplex but because of rent control, they can’t kick out the old woman upstairs. She seems innocent and harmless, but she drives them crazy and makes their life miserable. Eventually they actually plot to kill her, but even that fails. It’s a neat idea — the ineptitude of failing to kill a harmless old woman is hilarious — but so much of the film is dark and depressing you want to turn it off before the end. Too bad, because it has some funny parts and the hilarious ending explains everything. Black comedy fans will like this; others may have reservations.

Topic: [/movie]

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