Two Comedies from The Weinstein Company
I Could Never Be Your Woman (March 5/08)
I Could Never Be Your Woman casts Michelle Pfeiffer as Rosie, a writer/producer on a disposable teen drama who finds herself falling for the series' latest hire (Paul Rudd's Adam). Despite the rather severe difference in their respective ages - she's 40 and he's 29 - the two embark on a relationship that's fraught with precisely the sort of complications that one might've expected. That writer/director Amy Heckerling reportedly used experiences from her own life as fodder for the film's storyline is nothing short of astonishing, as I Could Never Be Your Woman has been infused with a distinctly over-the-top sensibility that effectively drains the proceedings of anything even resembling authenticity. The most obvious victim of this is Rudd, who finds himself trapped within the confines of an absurdly (and unreasonably) broad character - to such an extent that it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that Rosie would actually fall for this ill-mannered douchebag. The inclusion of several undeniably strange elements - ie Rosie's inept yet oddly manipulative secretary - only exacerbates the film's various problems, and it's ultimately not difficult to envision most of these characters (as well as the almost uniformly contrived situations) placed comfortably within the context of a garden-variety sitcom.
The Nanny Diaries (December 2/07)
The Nanny Diaries can't help but come off as something of a disappointment, given that it marks Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's first fictional effort since 2003's superb American Splendor. The pair's efforts at infusing the movie with an off-kilter sensibility generally fall flat, and it becomes increasingly difficult to overlook the self-conscious, downright smug vibe that's been hard-wired into the proceedings. Based on the novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the movie casts Scarlett Johansson as Annie - a recent college graduate who goes to work as a nanny for the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. X (Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney) and subsequently finds herself drawn into their many domestic disputes. While the relationship between Annie and her charge (a little boy named Grayer) does temporarily alleviate the aloof atmosphere, there's ultimately no overlooking The Nanny Diaries' various similarities to the far superior The Devil Wears Prada. Linney's efforts at infusing her character with the same sort of depth as Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly prove fruitless, as Mrs. X generally comes off as a one-dimensional caricature of a villain (her subsequent softening is nothing short of laughable). The inclusion of a completely ridiculous, completely melodramatic third act certainly doesn't help matters, and it's hard to imagine a contemporary film that wears out its welcome with quite the same ferocity as The Nanny Diaries.