thatcow

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Colin Firth is... Colin, an Englishman in a small American town called Hope, having escaped some kind of romantic trauma back home.

Heather Graham is Mandy, a local who takes to relieving his sadness in more than one way.

And of course, their budding romance is eventually complicated by the arrival of the cause of that aforementioned trauma.

The film starts promisingly - for me, at least - slowly, exploring small moments, letting the small town quirkiness come through. Colin draws portraits of the townspeople. Mandy explores new ideas in the realm of being cutely sexual. Minnie Driver walks around causing trouble in the most non-chalant way she can. Mary Steenburgen and Oliver Platt embrace their stereotypes with abandon.

Unfortunately, all is not well with the script. Colin makes one of the stupidest lies ever - not only would his situation have been trivially easy to resolve with the truth, but it makes it look like he's never seen a romantic comedy in his life, or any movie for that matter. Not that such lies don't happen, but in this case, it just looks like so much of a false crisis the whole thing falls flat.

The plot presses on, and resolves in a quirky, vaguely interesting but predictable way. As it turns out, there really did need to be something more to keep the film interesting. We can't just sail through the whole ninety minutes like a dry sitcom and feel all right with it. The characters end up too simply motivated. Eventually, it becomes hard to care, which is too bad, because the first act could have begun an interesting film.

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