Living Out Loud Reviews
A misguided romantic comedy that isn't as satisfying as it wants to be. The directorial debut of respected screenwriter Richard LaGravanese (The Fisher King, The Bridges of Madison County, The Horse Whisperer) is disappointingly off-kilter in both its writing and direction. Hunter plays a rich New York City housewife who, after being dumped for a younger woman, realizes that she has given up a great deal of herself for her marriage. With an overactive imagination, she desperately tries to live up to her own fantasies of being secure, stable, and emotionally self-sufficient. With the support of Devito, her unwillingly platonic friend, she eventually does make a small shift toward her own happiness.
LaGravanese's strong points are his wonderfully interesting characters and his smart, witty dialogue. His weak point is finding a storyline for his characters, and communicating his theme that change happens in baby steps, no matter how hard a person may try. Often, we see a scene as Hunter envisions it happening, and then it is repeated, the way it really happened. This sleight-of-hand storytelling is clever, but not used to its full potential. Another problem with the film is Hunter's character. She goes to uncomfortable lengths to be different (i.e. drinking and smoking too much, falling in love with complete strangers, taking drugs, and bumping and grinding at a lesbian disco). Then LaGravanese, who often omits what seem to be key scenes, neglects to show us any catharsis or reflection Hunter may have on her escapades. The plot is only meandering, and the conflict is pedestrian; it feels more like a pilot for a TV series. QUEER QUOTIENT: The one thing that makes the whole experience worthwhile is Queen Latifah. Not only is she a kick-ass blues singer (why did she ever waste her talents on rap?), she is just the sass and attitude that the film so desperately needs. And she is cinched and duct-taped into her skin-tight dresses more than any drag queen I have ever seen in my life. No doubt she is one of the to-be-worshipped grand divas of the future. And let us not forget the extremely erotic scene in which Hunter receives a massage from a drop-dead gorgeous masseur / call boy in his skivvies. Now I know why the movie theater floor was so sticky.