Details: (M), 94 mins, In Cinemas 18 March 2010, United States, English
Synopsis: When a beautiful, smart, suburban 40-year-old mother discovers her husband is cheating, she takes her two children to New York City to start over. Her demanding new job forces her to hire a nanny, and she chooses 25-year-old Aram, who is still trying to figure out what her wants in life. As Aram increasingly becomes attached to her kids, Sandy becomes aware of their undeniable chemistry and her growing attraction to Aram.
An unromantic comedy that gets down and dirty.
In just two sentences in this witless, charmless unromantic comedy, one loathsome character manages to insult Native Americans, Asians, African-Americans and lesbians. Such political incorrectness may be excusable if the scene were half-way funny, but it’s merely cringe-making.
Just what attracted Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha to this shallow, corny, ultra-predictable movie from writer-director Bart Freundlich is a mystery. It surely can’t have been the lame and often crass and infantile attempts at humour.
Perhaps it was the chance for Zeta-Jones to play a cougar, a sexy single mum (or M.I.L.F., using the crude expression this film applies to her character) who ditches her cheating husband and moves to Manhattan with her two obnoxious kids.
As for Bartha, well, maybe the idea of a being the co-lead in a rom-com appealed after playing supporting roles in the National Treasure adventures and the flop Failure to Launch. (He made The Rebound before he starred in The Hangover; the former movie has been sitting on the shelf awaiting release for some months).
A bad career choice for both, I’d suggest. Zeta-Jones doesn’t evoke a lot of sympathy as Sandy, who gets a job as a fact-checker with a sports network, loathes her ex-husband and swears like a drunken sailor.
Sandy needs extra help with the kids after getting a promotion and hires as her nanny Bartha’s Aram Finkelstein, the nerdy guy who works in the coffee shop below her apartment. She’s 40 and having a lousy time dating a sleazy chiropractor, while he’s 24 and still in shock three weeks after his French wife dumped him and he discovered she was just using him to get her green card.
In real life it’s highly unlikely these two disparate types would ever fall into the sack but it’s par for the course in Hollywood fairytales. Their relationship didn’t get off to a great start when Sandy went to a self-defence women’s group and took out her rage against her ex by attacking poor Aram, who was wearing a fat suit as the supposed assailant. (It’s the instructor who gratuitously insults the ethnic/sexual groups).
Freundlich spices proceedings with unedifying scenes of urinating in public, vomiting, penis and poop ‘jokes,’ and a flasher. A lovemaking interlude witnessed by Sandy’s son Frankie is particularly tasteless, as is a sequence involving the chiropractor (John Schneider) and an industrial toilet on the street.
After Sandy and Aram bonk, the movie asks the obvious questions: How long will this unlikely union last, and what impediments will they face? By then I was beyond caring.
Art Garfunkel and Joanna Gleason have the thankless tasks of playing Aram’s well-intentioned parents, and Kelly Gould and Andrew Cherry are awful as Sandy’s sprogs. Still, one can’t blame young Andrew too much when he’s asked to utter lines like, “Are we going to meet any transvestites?”
Freundlich claims he was inspired by filmmakers like Woody Allen and films such as The Graduate. Now that’s funnier than anything he concocts in this travesty of a movie.
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