Starring Hugh Grant, along with Oscar winners Marisa Tomei and J.K. Simmons, and The West Wing's Allison Janney, the 2014 film The Rewrite has enough star power potential to make it, at the very least, a good, romantic date movie. Unfortunately, it falls more than just a little short, even of this feeble goal.
Grant, playing has-been screenwriter Keith Michaels, who, out of desperation, takes on a teaching job at an east coast university, is painfully awkward to watch as he delivers an unfortunate series of contrived, cringe-worthy one liners. More than once, I found myself checking my phone for messages just to have an excuse to look away. Behaving inappropriately in a manner which is perhaps meant to be charming or playboy-esque, Grant's character instead comes across as creepy and unlikable. Not to mention...old. Tomei's portrayal of single-mother and aspiring writer Holly Carpenter is not much better. Although far more likable than her professor (Grant), her character is unfocused and not quite believable. She seems meant to be a deep and worldly "older" woman, but actually she's a bit of a twit. Simmons (playing Dr. Lerner) and Janney (professor Mary Weldon), along with a cast of attractive co-eds and a quirky neighbor (Chris Elliott) bring a little something to the story, but not nearly enough to sustain it.
|"Remember that time I made the news?"|
The Rewrite, should be a prime recipe for a darling romantic comedy, but somehow it manages to entirely miss the boat. The dialogue might be its biggest shortcoming. The good news is that the writing does improve somewhat about midway through the film, making the second half marginally more watchable than the first. However, despite the fact that I didn't hate the movie, in the end, as I thought I would (based on its disappointing first half), I also just didn't find myself emotionally invested in the characters or the outcome. This is lamentable because the story does have some promising elements, and the benefit of a talented cast. Too bad that wasn't enough. At best, The Rewrite can be described as mildly entertaining.