Film: Video watch: Not such a pretty sight
Friday 20 March 1998
The dentally-gifted one plays Julianne, a content, urbanite singleton until the day she finds out that an old flame - the titular groom - is getting hitched. As if that wasn't bad enough Michael (Dermot Mulroney) has been snaffled by Kimmy (Cameron Diaz), a dizzy, but beautiful, and devoted Boston heiress with a schmaltz exhaust where her mouth should be: `He's got you on a pedestal,' Kimmy gushes `and me in his arms.'
As Julianne sets about manipulatively destroying Michael's imminent marriage, your eyes just slide off Roberts.
Without the depth or charm to suggest that Julianne's meddling is anything other than the tantrums of an over-grown adolescent, Roberts is as amusing as, well, a scheming homewrecker. Only Rupert Everett as Julianne's gay friend tames a script that leaps hyperactively from the arch to the frivolous over the course of single sentences.
There are fleeting signs of life: the bride's friends and family break into an impromptu rendition of `Say A Little Prayer', for instance. But such is the film's laboriously `screwy' self-consciousness (I've seen more froth on a two-week-old cappuccino) that the familiarity of wealthy Irish-Americans with the work of Burt Bacharach merely comes across as excruciatingly unlikely. Avoid.
Trees Lounge (15), BMG (available to buy 23 March)
Tommy (Steve Buscemi) is not having a good life. Shacked up above his favourite drinking hole, his wife has left him for his former best buddy and ex-employer who had him sacked for dipping his fingers in the till at his garage. Things never really look up for Tommy, a likeable barfly, over the course of this blissfully uneventful film. It's a tribute to Buscemi's writing that when Tommy takes over his uncle's ice cream van, he's as quietly incompetent here as he is under the bonnet. There's no attempted redemption by enterprise, or by love when the van brings with it Debbie (Chloe Sevigny), a languid 17-year-old bored by the summer. Their tentative relationship is as brittle as any in the film and Buscemi the director has an uncanny knack of illuminating the elegiac nature of connections shattered before they've even been established. With a gentle wit and a superb ensemble performance from his cast, Buscemi pans back from Tommy to reveal the simple emotional carelessness to which every man in the neighbourhood seems prey.
All the male characters have their faults, some more than others, but Buscemi's real achievement is to bring this fallibility home to Tommy and no more. A rare treat.
Box Of Moonlight (15), BMG (available to buy 23 March)
On paper at least, Turturro is an inspired choice to play Al Fountain, an electrical engineer whose neurotic obsession with order is short-circuited over the course of a weekend away from home.
Fountain's wife is able to set her watch by his evening phonecalls and every conversation with his dopey son ends with a maths test. Before you can chant `get in touch with your inner child', however, Fountain comes across, Bucky (Sam Rockwell), who we know is a free spirit because he thinks that the wrestling isn't fixed.
As the holy fool redneck who effectively press-gangs Fountain into a crash-course in life, Rockwell keeps the homespun wisdom just about palateable, but if director Tom DiCillo knows that we've seen it all before he's overestimated his ability to put some colour back into the cheeks of his carpe diem truisms.
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