Film Reviews:

A Life Less Ordinary

(Danny Boyle, UK, 1997)

Director Danny Boyle's follow up to Trainspotting is a messy and rambling, if not entirely unrewarding, black comedy that has its heart in the right place but its head in the clouds. Two angels are given the task of making down-on-his-luck office cleaner Ewan McGregor and spoilt brat multi millionaire's daughter Cameron Diaz fall in love with each other. McGregor, having been made redundant by a cleaning robot, plans on getting his revenge by kidnapping his former employer's daughter - played by Diaz. Whilst Diaz helps the inept McGregor out with the basics of kidnapping (having been abducted several times before) the two angels try, with little success, in getting to two to bond and then fall for each other.

This is an old-fashioned Hollywood love story jazzed up for modern audiences and whilst the idea is noble enough, unfortunately, the finished article suffers from a script that tries too hard to cram in so many disparate elements. One minute it is Bonnie and Clyde, the next a musical fantasy, the next a Tarantino-esque hip and violent thriller. Boyle's cynical direction is at odds with his intentions and the film never finds a groove in which to run, instead jumping across tracks and genres with uneven and unsatisfying results. In the hands of the correct writer Boyle's many ideas could have come together convincingly, but Boyle's insistance upon going with John Hodges, the writer of his previous two hits, Trainspotting and Shallow Grave, only serves to emphasise Hodges' shortcomings outside of the contemporary and hip. The film is not without its merits however, and the performances from the three leads, McGregor, Diaz and Ian Holm as Diaz's comically ruthless father are all good. It's not a bad film, just far too ambitious a project for its director who has shown where his talents lie, and that isn't trying to revive the 40s Hollywood fantasy drama.

Rob Dyer

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