Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Find Love Twice: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

Starring: Alyssa Milano , Christopher Groham, Tom Lenk, Michael Landes  
Category: Romantic Comedy

Do you think it's hard finding the right guy/girl? Well, what do you do if you find two of them at the same time?

This is Jesse's problem. Jesse (Alyssa Milano) meets Ethan (Christopher Groham) and Troy (Michael Landes) at the same time, literally within minutes of each other. Both men sweep her off her feet in their own ways. Ethan is a struggling writer who finds Jesse to be a source of inspiration. He is sweet, charming and funny. She feels comfortable enough with him to confide about her failed marriage. She is worried about how it will affect her relationships but Ethan doesn't care. She is the one right thing going on in his life. Despite of their awkwardness with each other, the difference between their personalities fills the other's life.

Troy, on the other hand is a successful advertising executive who understands the nature of his job but is quite grounded regardless. He is taken by Jesse's beauty and charms. He takes her on fantastic dates to impress her but find him impressed by her. at every turn. He is well off but realizes that Jesse is the true treasure in his life.
Jesse finds happiness in both men but she has a secret. She torn by it. Her brother reminds her to come clean with her boyfriend before it gets serious but it is too late. She is love. But with who? Who will she choose? That is the thrust of the movie.  And the conceit/deceit of the movie. I'll get to that later.

This is an out and out romantic movie. There is some sharp and funny dialogue but that is to be expected when a writer tries to woo a girl above his station, at least in his eyes. This movie is funny naturally for once, invoking a smile and a chuckle. As opposed to other romantic comedies that are almost purely comedic and sitcom-ish with the romance thrown in the mix. These movies aim for the big laughs and either win or lose big. This movies aims to be easily funny and hits it right on every time.

All of the main characters are sweet and charming but with a small flaw. This makes them human and raise them above the standard Hollywood caricatures. Ethan's burden is the realization that he may have to abandon his dreams for a more stable future. Troy is the opposite, successful but realizes that his job is no longer his dream. Troy is hopelessly in love with Jesse and realizes that Jesse's the best thing in his life and something he cannot live without. And Jesse is carrying a burden that has stood in the way of relationships in the past and she is worried that it will affect her current relationship. That is probably the movies main 'villain' if there is any and the plot's central conceit, if you may.

However, that is where the movie starts to fall apart. Although Jesse's concern with her problem is there, it is not prominent nor focused on until the end. To movie's director, it is important to the movie's tension that Jesse's problem remain a secret. But in order for the audience to care for the secret problem, it has to affect a large part of the movie, which it doesn't. Jesse is often carefree and goes about with her dates as if nothing is happening. She also does not suffer guilt after the fact, which would emphasize her secret problem. It is hinted on briefly in the middle of the movie but then gets lost with everything else that is happening. The movie does not make us wonder what is going through her mind when it comes to dealing with her relationships and her problem. That is an opportunity lost.

The actors played their part well. Alyssa Milano can carry a movie, all she has to do is fight for the right one. This movie didn't challenge her range but neither has most of her past work. Her scenes with Christopher showed their unique chemistry. They brought out a believable sincerity in their characters. Both Christopher and Michael were good but the star was Alyssa. The actor who plays her bother is also good and his story line rounds out the movie well.

Generally, the movie works as a date movie. There hasn't been a movie with touching romantic scenes like those in this movie for a while now. Even the Nick Sparks movie of the year felt flat (I know it was a custom job for Miley Cyrus but the book offered so much potential). The romantic scenes were the movie's strong points, corny but in a good way. Not over the top nor too ironic.

Spoiler Alert.
Now for the main reason why this movie failed. It broke one of the main rules of film-making. It didn't respect the audience.

If you have watched the move, skip to the next paragraph. That problem Jesse has? The one she was worried about later in the movie and seemingly the cause of her moving away from Ethan? It's not what you thought throughout the movie. Jesse moved away from Ethan not because she chose Troy. Because Troy isn't real. All the scenes that had Troy in them were from Ethan's new book, where he re-imagines his relationship with Jesse. Jesse's real problem is that she can't have children. That is why her husband left her.

So what is the big deal you ask? Exactly my point. That main reason why we care about the characters and why we can relate to the movie were destroyed by the ending. That conceit that drove the movie, the tension of the secret, was both real and not. Jesse was concerned that whomever she loved would reject her the moment they knew she couldn't have children. But really, adoption exists and if the guy can't accept her the way, she should dump him. The dilemma that Jesse had to choose between Ethan and Troy never existed, even though the movie made us think so. Which is why Jesse's concern didn't match her actions.

The whole idea that Troy didn't exist just made a mess of the movies ending. Instead of walking out of the movie theater feeling happy, you are either confused because you didn't get the ending or irritated because the movie decided to pull a fast (and convoluted) one on you.

Could it have been done? Maybe but why? Why deceive your audience? What is the purpose of fooling the audience into caring and then pulling the rug from under them? And while we are at it, what did the director expect the audience to feel when they left the theater? "Wow that plot twist really made the movie more ... interesting?"

Despite that, the movie is still watchable. Just don't worry about the ending.Watch My GirlFriend's Boyfriend

1 comment :

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