Worth A Look: 14%
Pretty Bad: 36%
Total Crap: 46%
6 reviews, 14 user ratings
by Chris Parry
I just don't get it at all. I've honestly never seen a film, no matter how bad, where Naomi Watts couldn't shine. Anything she's ever been in, even Tank Girl, has been blessed with her skill, aesthetic appeal and overall presence. Until this steaming pile of dreck came along, that is. Le Divorce is not just a bad movie. Le Divorce is as bad as movies get. It features one-dimensional characterizations, scenes that make little or no sense, insanely pretentious portrayals of human beings, and a filmmaking team that seem to have lost the ability to figure out what it is they want to say. The only lesson I learned is this: When you begin yelling at the characters on the screen, it's time to cut your losses and hit the 'eject' button .Naomi Watts is Roxy, an American poet (of course) married to a French artist. Her sister Izabel (Kate Hudson) comes to stay, just as hubby is taking off to shack up with an... how can I say this nicely... ugly-as-sin Russian weirdo.
"Le suck ass. Le infuriating. Le boring as hell."
It's the opening few seconds of the film and already I'm yelling at the screen. Why? Because rather than show Roxy being a poet, the MErchant/Ivory clowns give us a scene where Izabel arrives at an airport and tells the customs official the her sister is pregnant - and a poet. Now, I don't know about you, but I tend to avoid making conversation with people as they're running their gloves through my dirty underwear, but Izabel just can't help but brag about her poetry-scribing sis.
To recap, it's the first scene and we're in Clumsy Filmmaking Town.
Then Izabel gets to the French pad belonging to her sis, only to cross paths - literally - with the woman's husband as he jumps into a cab - her cab - to escape married life. Gee, nice timing. Saved us having to actually be smart with how we handle our backstory, huh?
Which leads us to my second bout of yelling - hubby saying he's leaving, but refusing to say why, where he's going, how long he'll be there or whether he even wants to be married anymore. With his little girl looking on. Could he be anymore of a bastard? Or is it just easier for Merchant/Ivory to get out of actually explaining things to us?
This kind of ridiculous characterization continues for seemingly hours as these two people cross paths over and over, without the French boob actually ever explaining himself. But what really had me screaming was that he would walk away from his wife, say "I don't want to talk about it," and rather than beat his ornery head with a brick, or at the very least drag his ass down into his seat and insist he explain, she just tears up and watches him walk away.
NO! NO, NO, NO!!! TALK TO THAT BASTARD! WHY ARE YOU SITTING THERE? GET UP! GO FIND HIM! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN?!
I'm sorry, but even now it gets to me. I can handle a character not saying the obvious thing in a scene - it happens all the time in Movieland, but not over and over again. I mean, this screenplay has the feeling of what happens when a screenwriter tries to write with the TV on in the background. Important scenes happen, then are ignored for the rest of the film,while characters float in and out, generally only to give the filmmakers an easy option in moving the story along.
Take for example Kate Hudson's character, Izabel. This woman, who seemingly has little in the way of money, scores a job 'organizing the papers' of a successful American poet the first day she arrives in Paris. She then does one day of work (only) and for the rest of the film shows up with a different expensive French outfit in every single scene.
At one point her hairstyle changes, without any explanation as to why. At another point she decides to shag her sister's uncle-in-law, a man who is not only a warmongering politician, he's also married. Why she shags him we're never let in on, and why we're supposed to feel sorry for her when the guy dumps her, is also not talked about. And why her sister doesn't feel violated and used, we're ALSO not to think about. "Do you really think he's the right choice for you" Roxy asks, upon finding that her sister has been lying to her since she arrived.
Then there are the conveniently dropped, then re-adopted sub-characters, such as an anarchist who develops an early crush on Hudson's character. He invites her to help him with a volunteer organization he is running for refugees. She agrees, then goes out to shag the guy who wants those same refugees to be bombed. Anarchist reschedules her, and again she blows him off, again to shag the warmonger.
The married warmonger.
The warmonger married to her sister's aunt-in-law.
There's not a single joke that made me come close to laughing for the entire length of the film, there's a hideous scene involving a suicide attempt that is laughed away in seconds without anyone losing custody of their children, and in the end everyone gets to be rich, stupid and happy again.Yes, I gave away the ending. But not really, because nobody I know would get to the end of this shitbag without wanting to poison all those involved. It's Lifestyles of the Rich and Reckless, and we're supposed to sympathize when the infidelity doesn't quite work out. To hell with this film and everyone involved. If I never see it again, it'll be too early. And to put that into context, I saw it AFTER I watched Gigli and it's STILL the worst film I saw in the last twelve months.
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originally posted: 02/09/04 14:56:15