Wednesday, May 1, 2024

A May/December rom-com

  The Idea of You returns Anne Hathaway to the rom-com arena as a 40-year-old woman who falls for a 24-year-old member of a boy band (Nicholas Galitzine), one of those manufactured groups that inspire seventh-grade girls to plaster posers on their bedroom walls.
  A May-December romance revolves around the increasing sexual and romantic assertions of Hathaway’s recently divorced character. As you might guess, the wounds of divorce serve as a mandatory marker for an impending rebirth.
 To add complication, Hathaway’s Solene has a 16-year-old daughter (Ella Rubin) and a judgmental ex-husband (Reid Scott) who left her for another woman. 
 The movie’s cute-meet takes place at Coachella, the music festival to which Solene reluctantly escorts her daughter and several friends. Solene mistakes Galitzine’s private trailer for a public bathroom, generating a cute meet initiated by the desire to pee. Hey, whatever gets you there.
  Solene owns a successful art gallery in LA. Conveniently, she employs able assistants who allow her to pursue the burgeoning romance when Rubin’s Izzie leaves for summer camps. Solene travels with Galitzine's Hayes on the band's European tour.
  Adapting a novel by Robinne Lee, director Michael Showalter presents Galitzine’s Hayes as a self-aware young man who yearns to transcend the  limitations of a career built around boy-band superficiality. He’s looking to enrich his life with something genuine.
  The movie’s two stars generate chemistry while the plot tilts into topicality. The romance becomes tabloid fodder during the European tour.
   Obstacles arise on cue, and as the story evolves, the movie loses some of its early comic flavor without inspiring much by way of serious consideration.
   These days, my expectations for rom-coms are pretty low but this one has an inherent problem: Hathaway, an Oscar-winning actress and A-Lister, outshines Galitzine, who's asked to play the kind of star who makes women weak-kneed. 
    Let's leave it at this: A pre-summer bauble with a sturdy rom-com structure, Idea of You understands that it needs to be a bit more than eye candy -- or maybe that's just Hathaway at work.

No comments: