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Five uneasy pieces this is
Although I didn't have the highest hopes for Man Trouble, the fact that it featured Jack Nicholson brought be on board.
It takes no time before Man Trouble gets awful and before the audience is likely to either fall asleep or turn the movie off because it is a truly dreadful film.
Made by duo of legendary actor Jack Nicholson and Academy Award nominated director Bob Rafelson who have teamed up on various films in the past including the multiple Academy Award nominated counterculture film Five Easy Pieces, Man Trouble brings them back together for their fourth time. Luckily enough it is their last because it proves to be a dreadful effort in which neither of them really tried whatsoever. While Jack Nicholson gave an honest and powerful performance in Five Easy Pieces and Bob Rafelson tied the themes together with firm direction, neither of them do either of that here.
Jack Nicholson's performance in Man Trouble is arguably one of the worst of his career because he puts literally nothing into the part. It's not one where he tries too hard and overdoes it, it's one where he tries too little and the viewer soon forgets that it is actually him in the film. Without his name, Man Trouble would be nothing and would have no luck reaching audiences because there is little else for it to benefit from. Yet with him audiences are likely to forget how much of a talented actor he is because of the fact that he integrates none of his Academy Award winning talents into the role where he isn't the slightest bit funny whatsoever. The film makes use of a half assed version of his stereotypical archetype without capitalising on the best elements of it, and Jack Nicholson doesn't have any energy or charisma for the part. Considering his standard for acting, this is seriously Golden Raspberry Award material which he was "lucky" enough to score a nomination for. So fans of Jack Nicholson had best not watch this because it is obviously one of the worst films of his career.
And Bob Rafelson gives us no other reason why to watch Man Trouble. Adapting the film from Carole Eastman's script, the same woman who wrote the Academy Award nominated script to Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson makes a lazy attempt to put atmosphere into the film. He harnesses music to emphasise the dark subject matter and the light gags, but none of it works. There is little way to save a script as cheap as the one in Man Trouble, and Bob Rafelson proves that he cannot do it even when working with Jack Nicholson.
Man Trouble wants to be both a romantic comedy and a thriller at the same time by chartering in different directions and randomly changing the tone of the film at several points in the series. Viewers bearing witness to this are likely to simply ask the question "what is the point?". It is genuinely hard to watch Man Trouble because the comedic element of the film is poor due to it not being the slightest bit funny, and the romantic element of the film is poor because of the lack of chemistry between the two romantic leads. This is mostly the fault of Jack Nicholson because of how little he is willing to try in the film while Ellen Barkin is the one person actually taking the film seriously. Her performance isn't great, but she is the one person who has faith that Man Trouble could be any good and so she acts as such. Unfortunately, her charms and attractive elements are not enough to save Man Trouble from being anything but weak storytelling and poor comedy. Ellen Barkin's performance is the one thing keeping me from calling Man Trouble one of the worst films ever made, and that is the best thing she is able to do for the film.
Lauren Tom was so goddamn annoying in Man Trouble because she could not shut up. Her brief screen time is one of the most memorable things about Man Trouble and one of the clearest reasons not to watch the film because her presence on screen is just truly dreadful. Her voice gets excessively annoying really fast and she keeps talking and talking until the person stuck in front of the TV wants to throw something at it. Man Trouble should be avoided at all costs if for nothing else then solely for the fact that that way viewers will never have to witness the unfunny annoyance of Lauren Tom's lack of comedic talent in Man Trouble.
So basically, Man Trouble messes up in every area and there is not actually a single cast member who is able to save it. Jack Nicholson possibly could have if he was funny enough but the fact that he clearly cannot be stuffed is just sad. Ellen Barkin tries and gets a certain level of success, but she deserves a fellow cast member who is actually willing to make an effort in this film and a script that is not completely bereft of laughs and full of unsettling drama. The plot is just too generic and misplaced in Man Trouble for it to be genuinely any good, and the dialogue of the film does not give it any humour to justify calling itself a comedy. So I wouldn't think that viewers would have any reason to justify recommending this film to anyone, even the most die hard fans of Jack Nicholson because it might damage his reputation amongst them. All in all, there are almost no redeeming features in Man Trouble whatsoever.
So despite the presence of Jack Nicholson, he gives a possibly career weakest performance in Man Trouble teaming up with Bob Rafelson in their worst collaboration which is completely unfunny and would be fully forgettable if not for how terrible it was, and despite Ellen Barkin's attempts to save the film it cannot stand on its own feet.
It's insanely shallow and creepily entertaining.
Man Trouble is a disappointing film. It is about a sleazy but affable guard dog trainer who is blackmailed to steal a manuscript for a tell-all book from one of his clients. Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin try to make this movie work. The script sucks and is not that well written. I am not familiar with some of Bob Rafelson other films and so I will refrain from commenting. I was disappointed after watching this motion picture. I would not recommend in seeing it.
The worst thing Jack Nicholson ever put his name too. Ghastly!
(First and only viewing - December 2009)
I didn't think it was very good
Nicholson is very stale in this romantic comedy which isn't at all engaging. It serves as a reminder that greatness can only be achieved through the sum of all parts given there is little in the script or direction to enhance the poor plot.
Man, this movie was boring! Comedy? I'd rate this the ultimate sh*t. Although I like 90's movies, this was very lame.