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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 16.67%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap33.33%

2 reviews, 6 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"Enjoyable enough, but more a TV movie than a feature film of worth."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 SEATTLE FILM FESTIVAL: If you’re a filmmaker and you live outside the USA, the first thing you always look to do when you’re starting a new project is hook a US name into your cast. Whether you need to pay a big wage or just luck out by finding them on a day when they’re bored and quite fancy a few weeks in another country, the US import is as important as your camera package. Without a name Americans will recognize on the poster, Americans won’t buy a ticket, or at least that’s the prevailing wisdom. Miranda is a perfect example of this in action; a screenplay that would normally be considered too blah to bother with suddenly gains a little interest because of an American lead, and with a little punchy directing and some decent performances thrown in it manages to become quite an enjoyable little diversion. As for Ms Ricci, she may not be a Dame Judi Dench in the making, but she’s never been easier on the eye than she is here.

Those that have watched their fair share of BBC know the name John Simm well. He’s been on every British TV show there is at one stage or another, and he’s almost always fantastic, whether he’s doing straight drama or goofy comedy. In Miranda, he’s Frank, an English librarian stuck in a rut the size of the Thames. What gets Frank through a day, as he waits for his place of work to come under the wrecking ball, is the daily sighting of Miranda (Ricci), a gorgeous little redhead with an exotic (around these parts anyway) American accent who smokes ciggies so often you’d swear she gets air-miles for every pack consumed.

Miranda, to Frank, is everything he’s not – exotic, suave, sophisticated, driven – and one day he decides to throw caution to the wind and just ask her out for a drink. To his shock, she agrees, with the cautionary prevision that there’ll be “just a drink, no fuck.” Thus begins a sweet little romance that rides a long way on Simm’s likeability and even further on Ricci’s sexuality, but gets tired quickly when an actual story (Ricci has a dark past and a not-so-legal present) has to become involved.

Thankfully, a very funny supporting role by Kyle MacLachlan manages to pull things out of the fire in timely fashion and keep proceedings from growing too serious (a saving grace when John Hurt’s character pulls things the entire other way), and what could have been a tired misfire duly turns into a pleasant rental.

Ricci, seemingly changing style and hair with every scene, ranges from devastatingly gorgeous to “damn!” for most of the film, but even though she’s red hot to look at and has next to no dialogue for a large portion of the film, she still manages to sell the on-screen relationship with the nerdy Simm as if she means it and keep out attention where it needs to be – the characters. In fact, when she and he are getting their groove on, the two of them are outstanding. When things start to strain is when the ‘zany’ plot kicks in and Miranda’s past catches up to her, complete with all the twists and clichés of any ‘thief with a heart of gold’ thriller.

Miranda isn’t a bad movie by any stretch. In fact it would be safe to say that the flick is enjoyable, at least on a mindless diversionary level. There are no explosions, there's no nudity, it's missing most of the stuff that generally brings in a crowd. What it does have is a few laughs and Ricci and Simm earning their paychecks by giving us reason to smile – and that’s good enough for me to recommend it for a matinee.

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originally posted: 06/06/03 04:03:07
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/13/05 Tom Davis Fascinating. Ricci is awesome 5 stars
3/10/05 David Not your typical femme fatale. Love conquers all, if not a breadboard. 4 stars
3/08/05 Nathan Johnson Not bad. Nice balance overall. Ending a bit too tidy. 4 stars
7/22/04 axe random acts of the depressingly lame 2 stars
3/27/04 Dylan Brown Utterly fabulous! Charming and feelgood. Simm is yet again outstanding. 5 stars
10/29/03 John Lloyd Stylish and kooky. Not great but it held my interest for 90 minutes. 4 stars
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  24-Jun-2003 (NR)



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