I went to watch this with my film class over at the theater, and when I left, I left pretty neutral. Supposedly this movie was like a black comedy. Well, sure as hell it was, but the thing is that I've never seen a black comedy LIKE THIS ONE. That’s one reason that led me to believe that I've seen one of the most original movies of this year (I've yet to see Being John Malkovich).Good old Betty (played in a charming way by Renee Zellweger) is a waitress in a diner at Kansas City, who just wants to finish her nursing degree, and never miss a soap opera episode of "A Reason To Love," where his idol, Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear in a respectable supporting role) is the star of the hospital where the soap opera takes place. Well, that sounds original, doesn't it? In the diner we also meet one of the most unusual buddies in moviemaking, Charlie (Morgan Freeman in a superb performance), and his sidekick Wesley (Chris Rock in another great performance). I won't reveal the rest of these two, only to say that the only reason that they are in Kansas City is for a job (not that kind of a job).
"Will leave a sweet and sour taste in your mouth."
That’s where Betty's husband, Del (Aaron Eckhart), who's a car dealer, comes into play. She seems not interested in Betty anymore since he even cheats on her. Then these two guys come to Betty's house, ask for the job, and Del gets murdered in a violent way (I won't say more about it because I want to surprise you), why? Because its a drug job, what else? Betty witnesses this, but at the same time she's watching "A reason To Love." She enters into some kind of amnesia or schizophrenia, which makes her forget about her husband and drive off in a car that her husband let her borrow. At the end they have to chase her because in that car, that’s where the drug is. Now that was original. Some people may question this, but hey, even though I haven't seen it, that portal in Being John Malkovich worked out, didn't it?
One of the things I've got from this movie is that it blends comedy and violence in a way that when you see it, it all goes smoothly. In some places, it may not, and you'll feel the sense of "What the hell" in some scenes, but that affects little, if any, on the rest of the movie. The performances of the actors help a lot in this movie to have its effect. The key character, Betty, was played in a great way. I'm still impressed that Renee could pull it off in what I see, a difficult task (just watch the scenes where he meets Dr. Ravell, then you'll know). Probably if it wasn't for that, the movie would have probably been less effective.
Well, it also depends on a few more things too. The plot was well written, with a good message, and Neil LaBute's direction was very good. I've yet to watch his previous works, "In The Company Of Men," and "Your Friends and Neighbors." But what I've seen here, the way he directs the film, was good enough to be up to my standards. The ending is great until the very end, which I thought it was exaggerated, even for a comedy, but for the most part, this dark, road comedy movie worked out for me.In the end, I must recommend that you watch this movie with a normal state of mind, but watch out. You won't leave the theater with a smile or a frown; you'll leave in a pretty neutral state of mind. But that will not always mean that you hated it.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3915&reviewer=235
originally posted: 12/09/00 03:53:27