Monday, June 21, 2010

Serious Moonlight: Movie Review

Like a romantic comedy, except completely different.

"Serious Moonlight" deserves to be seen for a number of reasons.

First, it is written by the late Adrienne Shelly (best known for "Waitress" (2007)). After her death, her husband set up the Adrienne Shelly Foundation to help women pursue their film-making dreams. Money earned from her films goes towards this foundation.

Directed by: Cheryl Hines

Screenplay by: Adrienne Shelly

Starring: Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell and Justin Long

Second, there are a lot of elements in this film that are pretty original. It’s not a romantic comedy in the traditional sense, and there are a lot of characters that can’t quite walk the line of sympathy because they are just too villainous – an interesting dichotomy that should be explored more often especially in romantic-esque genres.

Third, the interesting casting choices, which give us the pleasure of seeing Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton in mature, grown up roles but acting childishly-stupid with glimmers of maturity and wisdom. There is the distinct possibility that they are the only two actors that could pull it off so beautifully. Add to this, Justin Long in a funny and very surprising role, and then the adorable Kristin Bell who for once is actually playing a character less-accomplished than the average woman her age.

Timothy Hutton plays plays husband Ian who is divorcing his wife Louise (Meg Ryan). Louise is a high-powered lawyer who never put much thought into her failing marriage, but she doesn’t take kindly to news of the divorce and much less kindly to the discovery that he’s leaving her for his younger mistress. You could argue things go off the rails when she duct-tapes him to the toilet, but it goes even farther into zany, extreme nonsense when a burglar shows up and interrupts her abduction plans.

It’s a zany crime comedy with misadventure around every corner, and if that’s all it was, it would be more than a little immature and poorly thought-out. But there is more to the movie. It includes an element of honest emotion – Shelly’s clear influence. Even when Louise has gone over-board and acting more extreme than the average person could relate to, you still understand her. Everything she does is coming from a place of true emotion, and same with every other character.

"Serious Moonlight" is a romantic comedy of sorts, an original movie that is funny, thoughtful, and romantic - in its own weird way.

I recommend spending your money on "Serious Moonlight". Rest in Peace, Adrienne.