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Overall Rating
4.27

Awesome55.05%
Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 8.08%
Pretty Bad: 8.59%
Total Crap: 1.01%

15 reviews, 108 user ratings


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High Fidelity
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by Chris Parry

"Cusack movies rarely fail to make my top five of the year. Here's another."
5 stars

When you read a great book that you know will soon be a film, a feeling of deep dread rises from somewhere around your bladder. The list of good books that have been made into better movies is one of the world's smallest lists, just beaten by the list of great Jewish basketballers, the list of great movies featuring Matthew Lillard and the list of lawyers who've won the Nobel Peace Prize. The odds of calamity seem greatly increased when you realise that the makers of the film have decided to Americanise the book to suit a larger audience. So there you sit, thinking Satan himself has turned to moviemaking and then along comes High Fidelity and ruins everything we've come to assume about the world. High Fidelity is that rarest of creature; a great movie based on a good book that survives a Trans-Atlantic location shift and leaves the audience smiling wide.

Rob is a guy. Rob's girlfriend wishes he was a man. Rob owns a record store and spends his day with two other guys, nattering about music and poopooing anyone who dares not come up to their standard of knowledge on the topic. Rob's girlfriend... doesn't. Rob loses girlfriend. Rob feels sorry for himself and tries to figure out why it happened, how it happened, when it all went wrong and where he goes from here, by tracking down the great failed romances of his life and investigating why they all went wrong.

If there's a downside to High Fidelity, it's not the fault of the film. Nick Hornby's book is almost obsessively whinging from start to finish. It's 'woe is me' of the highest order, and a large chunk of it (about 75% of the book) consists of the main character thinking to himself. In taking this to film, Cusack has been lumped with a massive gamble - how to portray that inner-thought to an audience. There's really only two ways to bring inner-dialogue to screen - narration (which everyone does when they've run out of ideas) or have your character actually talk to the camera (which almost always leads to tears - notable example: Christian Slater in Kuffs. Notable exception: Ferris Bueller's Day Off).

Thankfully, the dialogue in High Fidelity is tight, the characters are realistic and the situations are everyday. Essentially this isn't the kind of movie where you're looking over someone's shoulder as they rip-roar through a life we'll never participate in; with High Fidelity you're basically empathising with the main character. He's talking to us, we're relating to moments in our own lives, and so the whole concept of talking to the camera actually works well.

Cusack is in fine form. He's turned self deprecation into an art form over the years and it takes you way back to his teenage years of One Crazy Summer, Say Anything and Better Off Dead to see him catching up with a slightly insane Lili Taylor, being seduced by the mysterious Lisa Bonet and being beaten to an emotional pulp by a hilariously (and exceptionally well) affected Catherine Zeta Jones. Sister Cusack is again in attendance (in Cusack's own words "Why wouldn't I put her in every movie I make? She's a ringer. You just know she's gonna hit it out of the park every time.") and cameos from the likes of Tim Robbins and Natasha Gregson Wagner just seem to come one after another. But the real star of the show is Jack Black. As Rob's over-talkative geeky record store employee, Black is hysterical from start to finish, culminating in one of the most drop-your-pants hilarious renditions of Let's Get It On you'll ever have the pleasure of seeing, s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sugar.

Funny, tight, real and very enjoyable, the only question that remains is the most obvious one. What got chopped from the book? Well, essentially only one character took a major cut, and she was the one character in the book that never really fit the theme. The result? A damn funny romantic comedy that leaves Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan pretenders in the dust.

If you enjoyed Say Anything, Grosse Point Blank or any number of other 'Cusack plays the forelorn romantic' flicks, then this is not only right up your alley, but is the perfect adult compliment to the earlier teen epics. Take a date. Don't take a date. Just go see the thing.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1354&reviewer=1
originally posted: 08/23/00 00:33:27
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User Comments

5/17/07 ES meh 2 stars
8/24/06 Joe One of my faves. Cusack's at the top of his game. Black and Luiso steal scene after scene. 5 stars
6/24/06 Orange Genius! 5 stars
12/12/05 Bad Critic The greatest movie about recoreds ever! (Ghost World's one too) They also had a Saab in it! 5 stars
10/13/05 millersxing It clearly helps that Cusack is such a blank slate that so many can identify w/ him. 4 stars
8/18/05 John Aster Habig Cusak can't live up to Todd Louiso's and Black's characters in interest 4 stars
8/17/05 ES A movie not worth making= funny stuff spoiled by trailer, nothing left for the film 2 stars
8/12/05 Kelly top five john cusack movie- 1.High Fidelity 2.Grosse Point Blank.... 5 stars
12/07/04 Jason Kaul One of my favs from John Cusack. Jack Black is great too. Then again, I'm a DJ, so I relate 4 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge Second best cuzack film ever 5 stars
8/22/04 Abbath Great characters and narrative. Something most anyone can relate to. 5 stars
7/27/04 DM Unstructured but mostly fucking hilarious 4 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Rob is a low life who needs to get a life 3 stars
5/13/04  Shaun Rose Great movie with a nice cast of actors, Check it out if you haven't seen it 4 stars
5/11/04 Denise Duspiva Need a more solid story 3 stars
5/09/04 Charlene Javier Bored, bored, bored! 2 stars
1/07/04 Charles Tatum Nicely acted and written, but runs ten minutes too long 4 stars
1/05/04 y2mckay Cusack, keep making movies like this and "Gross Point Blank". No more chick flicks! 5 stars
10/12/03 laura paterson Probably my favourite film of all time! 5 stars
9/21/03 spacecowboy for such a simple message, it didn't have to be that long 3 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Been down this road before, people -- even without the LPs! 2 stars
1/21/03 R.W. Welch Nice work by Cusack but unless you're a pop music geek much of the dialogue is obscure. 3 stars
12/22/02 Pigwidgeon Excellent movie with two flaws -- "Laura" and too much showy smoking. 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 The diversity of characters was what made this movie great. I don't know about the end. 4 stars
10/03/02 Jason Cusack Shoots, HE SCORES, AGAIN!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/26/02 WestcoastPunk Non-stop Laughs. Funniest movie out there. 5 stars
8/14/02 MI I found it depressing- I think i may have laughed once. 2 stars
7/29/02 karen goldstein Anybody who has ever been dumped will enjoy this movie! Very entertaining. 4 stars
7/01/02 visionsof People who call this movie stupid need to learn to appreciate movies without a loud of cgi. 5 stars
5/26/02 Nicole If you like fairly dry humor, you will enjoy this movie 4 stars
4/28/02 radroc This movie is genuine, the real thing. A flick the acadamy awards could never appreciate 5 stars
4/04/02 cat John Cusack always plays the adorable loser to a T, Jack Black is hilarious, even Dick too 5 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean If you like butt plugs, you'll love this movie. Otherwise, see Chasing Amy 4 a better flick 2 stars
2/27/02 Jess I quite liked the film, it's real, but the book means so much more. 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I just didn't find the movie very entertaining. Black made me chuckle. 2 stars
11/29/01 KMG People claim this movie is brilliant...THOSE PEOPLE ARE STUPID! 3 stars
9/03/01 svetlana the most human movie i've seen in a long long time 5 stars
8/29/01 Sarah John Cusack is animous with starring in movies that have no meaning & bored me to death 1 stars
7/06/01 Elvisfan Almost ruined by Black's immature jackoff routine, w/o him it would have been better 3 stars
5/21/01 hum see what can be done when a liitle effort is put into a comedy? 4 stars
5/04/01 joe This is Jack Black's movie. Cusack is annoying. Enough already! 4 stars
4/29/01 The Jedi Droid in my top 5 ....John Cusack is great! Jack Black cracked me up 5 stars
3/04/01 Zippo XxX One of the best movies i've seen!! should be studied!!! 5 stars
2/24/01 Marie Pretty boring whiny confused male movie. Generally entertaining. 3 stars
2/17/01 Jake a timeless gem. 5 stars
2/15/01 Charlie Betts Great Pop Classic... One For the Ages! 5 stars
2/06/01 Phil M. Afficianado <10% are "see againers"; this is. Gender Psych 401--grad school. CATscan of male love life. 5 stars
2/04/01 Del R Boorriinnngg! 2 stars
1/15/01 Gariess Best romantic comedy from an original novel. A tad on the glib side. 4 stars
11/27/00 Michael Maher intelligent approach to relationships, great use of pop music context and very funny 5 stars
10/17/00 Leon Trotsky Fantastic, BUT the end wasn't as carefully assembled as the rest 4 stars
10/05/00 Add Straight into my all time top 5 with a bullet, p.s. SONIC DEATH MONKEY RULE!!!!!! 5 stars
10/02/00 toneely Sorry Guys .but this movie bored me to death!!!! 2 stars
9/22/00 Monday Morning Easily among the Top 5 films I've seen this year. 4 stars
9/20/00 Michael Grimm rains a lot in Chicago, really hit home in my relationships, Cusack's character was creepy 4 stars
9/13/00 lina oh my my... brilliant film...john cusack rocks.. didnt want the film to end...totally rad . 5 stars
9/05/00 The Extreaminizer I love the book and the movie 5 stars
9/01/00 Pierce Lanson Terrific film, but he smoked too much 5 stars
8/21/00 Belinda Jack Black, where have you been hiding? 4 stars
8/18/00 matthew smith hilarious and painful 5 stars
7/31/00 Matthew Bartley A bit too long but very funny in parts 4 stars
7/31/00 Jason Kallelis Saw it a 2nd time, liked it even more, AWESOME MOVIE!! 5 stars
7/04/00 Matt Catherine Zeta-Jones in a GOOD movie??? 5 stars
6/13/00 chouck Another killer John Cusack film 5 stars
6/08/00 Jaime N. Christley Best Cusack film in years; funny, insightful, and highly enjoyable 5 stars
6/07/00 Patrick Dennis John Cusack is the man!!!!!!!! Plus, the diologue in the store is great... 5 stars
6/05/00 Blubberbot I enjoyed it for the most part but I didn't think the story was all that great. 4 stars
5/21/00 Jess This is an 80's film in the 00's. I loved it. Beautiful film, very funny at times. 5 stars
5/13/00 davebo an insightful, funny, original movie 5 stars
5/13/00 Dr. Rev. Krule, MD that is so me in 10 years 5 stars
5/12/00 Paige OK movie, nothing to write home about. 3 stars
5/10/00 Travis funny lines, good characters 4 stars
5/09/00 That Guy For everyone who ever made a tape for someone to express themselves... 5 stars
5/05/00 Alan Stuart Smart screenplay and good performances 4 stars
5/05/00 David Blumgart Funny, charming, affecting movie. 5 stars
5/03/00 Joe Smith Great characters 5 stars
5/03/00 Peter Smith Very funny, verry entertaining 5 stars
5/02/00 mop Great movie. Always been in love with Cusack. And they pretty much nailed music snobs... 5 stars
4/29/00 Heather Very funny original movie, interesting characters, well worth looking up 4 stars
4/26/00 astrotart Indiecool film where John Cusack is actually attractive..and Jack Black is a fucking RIOT!! 5 stars
4/26/00 PhilmPhreak Great Flick! 5 stars
4/21/00 Malbert Very interesting film...I liked it a lot 5 stars
4/19/00 Starry Knight Damn Damn Good 4 stars
4/15/00 PJ Great movie, Jack Black is funny as hell, and it was rather original, funny 4 stars
4/14/00 Mr. X enjoyable and insightful. if you haven't read the book, that is. 4 stars
4/14/00 Alyssa Another Cusack triumph. Makes you ponder if guys who *are* assholes are really pensive. 5 stars
4/11/00 Drano Actually went deeper than I expected. And stayed humorous 4 stars
4/10/00 Bueller Amazingly clever, and comic dialog. No one is better than John Cusak, at this kind of film. 5 stars
4/09/00 EMagGaRony john cusak is awesome, as always.... 5 stars
4/09/00 vroom The '80s came rushing back...where's my crimper 4 stars
4/08/00 burdenit Fucking Shit! 1 stars
4/08/00 Chartsy God, I love seeing a movie that kicks serious ass! 5 stars
4/07/00 Nolan Wrage Good insight on how men realy think. 5 stars
4/07/00 Katsat Original, quirky, funny, charming--just my kind of movie 5 stars
4/07/00 burton t. e. miller slow and predictable - supporting cast 'carried' the movie 2 stars
4/07/00 nootch The movie was pretty good, but without Cusack I don't think it could've survived. 4 stars
4/06/00 Freyja Forget chick flicks, this is THE date movie! 5 stars
4/06/00 kohawk true to life, spontaneous comedy. Extremely well written. Certainly better than average 5 stars
4/05/00 Captain Highcrime Not THAT funny. 3 stars
4/04/00 ChuckEye Tim Robbins gone horribly wrong 4 stars
4/03/00 Negative Again, Cusack delivers ! 5 stars
4/03/00 Gamma Great movie. See it for no other reason than a great John Cusack role. 5 stars
4/02/00 "Persnickety" well done john, he let the true world of dating come out to the surface, Bravo! 5 stars
4/02/00 mike b not too bad..could've used some trimming-jack black is the man! 4 stars
4/02/00 mason great book , slow directionless film full of very ugly people 2 stars
4/01/00 tjwills John Cusack is a god! This movie is just more proof! 5 stars
4/01/00 The Rock Movie was great! Jack Black rules 5 stars
3/31/00 Andi C. It was funny!! 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  31-Mar-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  17-Aug-2000 (M)




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