Watching the Detectives Reviews
"Watching the Detectives" is an ok romantic comedy with a touch of "High Fidelity", but with a focus on movies. Cillian Murphy shows a bit range in his acting here and the same goes for Lucy Liu. The storyline of falling for someone who sweeps in literally like a storm, is something I can truly relate to. However, the "tests" and pranks headfuck Violet puts Neil through is not ok from any point of view. That sort of games would have made me tell Violet to fuck off mildly put it. I wouldnīt have accepted that sort of behaviour, meaning itīs hard to believe that Neil actually would take all that crap and still stay with Violet. The character has such an unbalanced way of being and with a selfishness bigger than the Empire State Building. Then again love is blind...
Not unlike plenty of comedies of its nature, this film has a few refreshing ideas, but they're so light that they go lost in the midst of conventions, which thrive and thrive until the final product borders on hopelessly derivative, with its narrative and its humor. I won't say that nothing is original here, because, at the very least, the film tries hard enough for you to get a little taste from those conceptual elements that are kind of offbeat, but at the end of the day, this is by no means new, being unoriginal to the point of being kind of blandly flat. That sense of blandness isn't exactly helped by spots in the film's humor, which is often reasonably effective, and just as often too lacking in uniqueness, if not wit to be all that colorful, with moments in which it truly falls flat, at least as mediocre. Of course, in all fairness, it's kind of hard to have fun with characters who aren't that worthwhile, or at least even, having a couple unlikable traits, in addition to traits that fail to compensate for the distancing ones because of their twisting characterization into a direction that is more jarring than layering, and not even all that convincing. Really, even outside of the characterization, storytelling doesn't always convince, because on top of being unoriginal, this story has a tendency to slip in probability, often getting too carried away with its eccentricities, as surely as it has a tendency to get carried away with ambiguities behind Lucy Liu's intentionally strange Violet character, who leaves the narrative that she drives as the central focus of plotting to lose focus before too long. It gets to be a little challenging to tell where exactly this film is heading, no matter how predictable it is in a lot of ways, and with momentum being further retarded by improbably spots in storytelling and flat spots in humor, the final product ends up falling as a pretty underwhelming, almost mediocre comedy. Yeah, there's nothing special here, but neither is there enough flatness for the final product to bore, entertaining adequately, sometimes through, of all things, lively scoring.
Well, whether it be because it's unoriginal or because it's not especially prominent or dynamic, this Ryan Amon's score isn't especially worth talking about, but as far as comedy scores go, Amon turns in more than a few decent and fitting compositions, the highlights of which include noir homages, as well as lively, organ-driven spots that feature some impressive musicianship, while capturing a sense of eccentricity that defines certain aspects of this piece. Of course, the score is perhaps at its most effective when well-utilized by direction by Paul Soter that, despite frantic moments, if not limp moments, has enough nifty plays on style - anchored by some snappy editing by Jeff Canavan - to keep pacing smooth and entertainment value pretty sufficient. Granted, this aimless film doesn't go too many places with its smooth pace, and entertainment value is pretty limited by plenty of other elements, but mediocrity would stand as a greater threat if it wasn't for Soter delivering on plenty of color as directorial storyteller, as well as a writer. Plenty is lacking in Soter's scripting, even in humor, which is a little too lacking in originality and sometimes even a little too lacking in wit, but serviceably enough to keep up some degree of fun more often than anything, with moments in dialogue and set piece structuring that are clever enough to amuse pretty thoroughly. Soter makes his share of mistakes when it comes to handling humor, but through it all, he makes a pretty funny flick, as surely as he makes his share of mistakes when it comes to characterization, until cutting through all of the unlikable, improbable and even uneven traits in order to craft aspects colorful enough to endear you to the characters who drive this fluff piece, but are better sold, not by anything that Soter does, but by the performers themselves. At least carrying a respectable cast, this film is saved by its performers, specifically the leads, whose lack of racial consistency and certain lack of character consistency admittedly shakes chemistry that is still pretty firmly secured by the combination of Cillian Murphy's and Lucy Liu's charismas, both of which are distinguished, and equally effective. Whether it be Liu as the unpredictably eccentric girl looking to live life to the fullest, or Murphy as the reasonably tasteful, but still pretty flawed and strange man with only so much direction in his life, the leads are handed conventional roles that they bring a lot of life to, more so than Soter does as director and writer, which isn't to say that there isn't enough done right on Soter's behalf to make the final product pretty entertaining, despite its questionable elements.
In conclusion, conventions, flat spots in humor, unlikable and uneven characterization elements, and some improbability bring the final product to the brink of mediocrity, while generally decent scoring, direction and writing, as well as solid chemistry between and distinguished charisma by Cillian Murphy and Lucy Liu bring enough decency to Paul Soter's "Watching the Detectives" to make an adequately entertaining and clever, if forgettable, eccentric rom-com.
2.5/5 - Fair
So i kept watching and actually enjoyed the movie despite so really poorly executed turns and messy dialogue. The constant movie references of the opening sadly dried up (or went mostly over my head later) as did the fun side characters who are reduced to feeder lines and background. Cillian predictably shines through the mess and Liu predictably struggles to be be convincing dangerous.
investigation sorts of stuffs.