High Fidelity Reviews
Based on a novel, this is a fun, witty, and excellent romantic dramedy.
Rob Gordon is a 30-something record store owner and feverish music collector who, after a bad break up, decides to go through his past relationships to figure out what went wrong, and how to improve his chances in the future.
Along the way he has to deal with his two equally obsessive and nutty employees, and learn to balance his youthful passions with the realities of having to be a responsible adult.
Like I said, I can relate to this movie. A lot. I'm not exactly like Rob, but I do share some of his quirks, tendencies, and general outlook on life. Our tastes in music are similar, too, but not quite the same. I would definitely say I'm somewhat of a snob (unfortunately), but more so with films than music.
John Cusack is perfect here, and this is easily his best and most likable character. He really nails the obsessive music fanatic trying to reassess his place in the world. As his employees Dick and Barry, Todd Louiso and Jack Black (especially Black) are likewise quite awesome, and a blast to watch. They too nail the character type, and provide for many of the film's biggest laughs.
Then newcomer Iben Hjejle is quite fine as Rob's most recent ex Laura, and I'm kinda bummed out that she hasn't really done anything since. Another of Rob's former flames is played by Catherine Zeta Jones, and she is a delight. Then there's Tim Robbins as a nutty yuppie/Rob's former neighbor/Laura's new flame. He's perfectly smarmy and really excels at making you dislike him.
The writing is quite strong, but not perfect. If you want a strong plot, then go somewhere else. This one's pretty light on narrative, and, while it's not the deepest film ever, it does still have some substance to it. For the most part, the film is fairly down to Earth and realistic, and that's both a good and bad thing. I mean, especially if you can relate, then some of this might be a bit uncomfortable to watch. But, it does at least end in a fairly satisfactory way.
All in all, though, this film rocks. As I said, it's a favorite of mine, so I am biased, but still, you should definitely check this out.
A slice-of-life comedy about the pitfalls of love, Cusack once again proves why he's a dynamic force. His breaking of the fourth wall is most enjoyable, using it as a catharsis of sorts. I find that his character, Rob Gordon, is not unlike myself in a few ways. We're both heavily introspective, we stay out of fights between friends/co-workers (sometimes playing Devil's advocate just to get a resolution) and most importantly, we make Top 5's out of just about anything (well I have to do something to pass the time at work when I'm alone). Though I haven't seen Evil Dead 2 yet... (don't tell Jack Black's character, Barry).
On the subject of Jack Black, I found his role quite surprising here. He's laid back, sure, but also subdued and without manic energy. This is not a complaint, however, as it's nice to see him in this sort of role. If it weren't for the fact that this is based on a book and the dialogue probably being lifted straight from it, I'd say its almost like Jack walked on set and used his own thoughts to form dialogue. Wouldn't surprise me, being the keen musician he is.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was a Cameron Crowe film. He does slice-of-life comedies too and his ear for music is unparalleled. This film has some great music too and some excellent music references (bonus points for bringing up The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace).
The idea of going back through your past to examine your present love life really resonates with me. Some say to leave the past in the past, I say if you forget your past, you're going to make the same mistakes over and over. Sure it's okay to try and repress certain memories to an extent (school being one of those for this reviewer) but analysis of the past could lead to a present epiphany. Rob Gordon understands this and this forms the driving force of the story. He sees old girlfriends years after things have ended in an attempt to stop this pattern repeating. Sometimes I think I could benefit from that, maybe that's another thing Rob and I have in common.
Throw in a wonderful performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones and you have a very thought-provoking experience.