Review: Alex and Emma

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  June 20, 2003 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

Director Rob Reiner, Kate Hudson and Luke Wilson have decided to square-off against a green-skinned behemoth. They are packing a weapon to help stall the green goliath. What is their secret weapon? Heart-strings, of course.

Alex (Luke Wilson) is a starving-blocked writer who must finish his follow-up to his best-selling novel in 30 days or risk being pummeled to death by two large Cubans. Enter Emma (Kate Hudson), a stenographer who is aspiring to work at a prestigious law firm until she is duped into showing up at Alex's door. Their first meeting isn't exactly heavenly, but eventually Emma decides to help desperate Alex. Can their team-up and collaboration save Alex from certain doom? And what the hell is Alex's book about anyway?

Director Rob Reiner ventures back into the foray of romantic comedies with Alex & Emma. Reiner is still most fondly remembered for directing When Harry Met Sally, which is regarded as one of, if not the best romantic comedy of all time.

Even though Alex & Emma isn't going to be remembered as a classic, it does have its tender and sweet side. There are some delightful moments for Hudson, who takes on four roles for this film. In each of her incarnations, you do have to crack a grin because she has such a beautiful and infectious way with the camera. This kind of role for Kate reminded me a lot of her mother, Goldie Hawn, in her earlier work. It is amazing how much of Goldie is in her daughter.

I also liked seeing Luke Wilson in a leading role. Wilson is always so laid back and very comfortable on screen, and you get this coming home feeling when he's on screen. My only problem with Wilson is that he needs to develop a range in his career. He always seems to be playing the same guy.

I have to remark on Sophie Marceau in this film as well. Like Monica Bellucci after her, Marceau is one of Europe's great imports. Marceau is a brilliant French actress and she needs to be used more in Hollywood. I liked her as the tormented socialite in the 1920's here. The film just didn't support her character.

The sad thing about Alex & Emma is that I was more interested in the goings-on within Alex's novel than what was happening between the writer and his typist. It was almost like The Great Gatsby which really intrigued me. There was so much potential for the conflict between the real-world and novel-world. I wanted to see more of a struggle. The filmmakers could have had so much fun with that.

Alex & Emma is a delightfully basic comedy, which doesn't capitalize on what it could be. The performances and leads are memorable but not poignant. However it is a great movie to get brownie points, guys. (3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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