Sunday, April 22, 2007

In the Land of Women - through the eyes of Santa Claus

You know the joke that goes something like, the Easter bunny, Santa Claus and the perfect couple were driving around together and had an accident - who survived? Obviously the perfect woman because the others are fictional. Well, that's sort of how the Adam Brody character came across In the Land of Women. Most of the female characters were pretty decently written, and had some complexity to them that made for fairly fresh and compelling material - a teenage girl who doesn't know how or who to hook with, and a stay at home mom who has realized that she only defines her life in terms of what her family has accomplished, rather than her own actions. For the most part the acting was pretty good, partiularly Meg Ryan (though her lips are still distracting) playing a woman dealing with her own choices and the devestating news of cancer. They all had secrets that actually made them more interesting women, and revealed themselves a little. The part I couldn't buy was this articulate, sensitive, 26-year-old, cutish guy who felt the need to reconnect with his grandmother, then treated her like crap, while trying to befriend the neighbor women in an effort to get over his girlfriend dumping him. The dialogue walked a very fine line between intellectually creative and cliched, usually ending up on the better side. Overall, I liked the movie - it had some new points of view and good women characters, but I left feeling like not much had been resolved in the way they kept setting it up - just that it ended. This not-so-perfect fictional guy finds some sort of will to go on after meeting these women, and the women weren't the cohesive group one would expect in a whole land of women. The supporting cast adds a few terrific laughs too - the younger daughter confesses to being afraid she'll get stuck in yoga poses, and the Grandmother (played very strangely by Olympia Dukakis) answers the door without pants.

1 comment:

Cat said...

Ha! This totally doesn't surprise me. Generic "sensitive guy" tends not to work for me (Cf. Zach Braff in both of his major movies...though actually he's pretty openly an ass in the second movie). But I did think some of the writing sounded cute in the preview...which might mean that I would find the movie annoying except for those bits. You sound pretty positive about it in here, but esp. hearing that the Meg Ryan character has cancer makes me doubt that I would like it. Middle-aged women always have cancer in the movies; it's like the only way they are allowed to be represented. While there are some movies that have this plot that I really like (See Stepmom and Terms of Endearment), I'm not crazy about that cliché. And this from me (whose Mom had breast cancer, so I know it's not like this is uncommon). I just don't like that it seems like any woman older than thirty is invisible unless she either has a ton of plastic surgery and looks scary (Demi Moore) or plays the Mom who has Cancer (portrayed by Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, or now Meg Ryan).