August 13th, 2009

It Could Happen To You

You know you're tired when you could be watching Ingmar Bergman and you choose to watch Andrew Bergman instead.

The two Bergmans live at a great distance from one another in the city of cinema.  Ingmar occupies the dread hotel of Emotional Truth just off the main square. Andrew has a bungalow in the suburbs of Whimsy.
OK, enough of that.  I'm not going to review this movie. The Radio Times suggested it was Capraesque, and so it is if you look at the subject matter alone, but Capra was sophisticated.

It sells itself as being mostly true. I checked and it's not. The central incident really happened, but everything else is fiction. I'm glad of that.  It removes one of my chief objections- that if the Rosie Perez character was based on a real person it's a vicious piece of character assassination.

So, it's a fairy story. Maybe that's all that needs to be said. Beautiful person performs good deed, suffers briefly at the hand of bad people, is rewarded with true love. The End.

Except that there's something a bit tacky about how un-nuanced these characters are. Cage is not only the most honest man in New York, he's also a freaking hero. Perez is nothing but stupid, shrill and mean.  These aren't real human beings, they're play-people, Legoland people. And the way the good are rewarded and the bad kicked back: life ain't like that. 
So where does one draw the line. At what point does fluffy, feelgood nonsense turn into cynical, button-pushing lies?  That's an honest question. I don't know the answer.

It could happen to you? Oh no it couldn't, because it never happened to anyone. 
And it amuses me to see Nick Cage and Bridget Fonda playing a couple of folks for whom $4 million represents a lot of money.