Less Than's Review of American Splendor

  • 10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
    American Splendor

    American Splendor (2003)

    American Splendor (dir. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2003) -- Peculiar and very original in structure and approach to narrative, but it felt a little too caught up in its originality (granted, I realize the approach is heavily based in Pekar's comics, but still). Didn't really feel like it had much to say, and didn't find any scenes particularly interesting. The point of it is that life is much more drab and boring and usual, and that we're all superheroes in the daily little battles. Good point, but made for a film that was far less interesting than it was quirky.

    Shattered Glass (dir. Billy Ray, 2003) -- An [i]excellent[/i] film on journalism. It's the first film I've seen that shows Hayden Christensen can actually act. Saarsgard is excellent as well in a large role. I was pretty surprised at the caliber of the cast -- all I knew beforehand was that Hayden and Saarsgard were in it. But any film that has Hank Azaria, Rosario Dawson, and the underrated Steve Zahn filling out the cast has plenty of acting chops to draw from. #6 film of 2003 at the moment.

    Intolerable Cruelty (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, 2003) -- [b]From my [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=300970"]2003 In Review Thread[/url]: [/b]The Coens have crafted Intolerable Cruelty as a screwball romantic comedy that feels classic in style and overflows with laughs. Catherine Zeta-Jones' quick and witty repartee with Clooney keeps the film moving at a breakneck pace. This wit is essential; while this may be a romantic comedy, it is also simultaneously a farce and a satire, taking its characters seriously while making fun of them at the same time. I don't enjoy many romantic comedies, but I truly love one that is this well done. Sure, there are several overused conventions and cardboard characters. I can forgive those tired films that serve no purpose other than to deliver the same story to make more money, but I can't enjoy them. There has to be something more than just the set-up -- there has to be a grand execution. The Coen brothers have delivered one of those rare romantic comedies that makes me remember just how witty and stylish a romantic comedy can still be.

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