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Posts Tagged ‘Rose Byrne’

Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd

“JULIET, NAKED” My rating: B+

105 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The drolly amusing “Juliet, Naked,” isn’t my favorite film based on work by Nick Hornby (that would be the sublime “Brooklyn”) but it’s right up there with “About a Boy” and “High Fidelity.”

And like the latter, it’s a comedy/drama that pivots on a guy obsessed with rock music.

Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) teaches pop culture at a small British community college. He’s the kind of geeky prof who, for a course on HBO’s
“The Wire,” supplies his students with a glossary of American inner city words and phrases. You can imagine him leading serious  classroom discussions about the etymological roots of “mofo” and “ho.”

His biggest crush, though, is on a marginal American singer/songwriter named Tucker Crowe whose LP “Juliet”  holds the 43rd place on at least one list of great heartbreak albums.

Duncan loves “Juliet” and scarfs down every bit of information he can find about Tucker Crowe, who vanished a quarter century ago.  Duncan is also the proprietor of a Tucker Crowe web site where he trades theories with other Crowe disciples and writes rambling blogs about how Tucker is the J.D. Salinger of alt rock.

In short, Duncan is perfectly ridiculous. (Not that we can’t relate. Most of us have our little hard-to-explain musical fixations: Richard Thompson. Eric Andersen. The Beau Brummels.)

Anyway, Duncan’s live-in girlfriend Annie (Rose Byrne) has just about had it with the whole Tucker Crowe thing.  When an early stripped-down demo recording of the songs on “Juliet”starts circulating on the Internet, Annie writes a withering (and anonymous) review of what is being called “Juliet, Naked.”

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Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne

Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne

“THE MEDDLER” My rating: C+

100 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“The Meddler” is selling itself as one kind of cliche, when actually it’s a cliche of a different kind.

Marnie (Susan Sarandon) is a recent widow who has moved from her lifelong home of NYC to be with her screenwriter daughter
Lori (Rose Byrne) in sunny L.A.

TheBrooklynese-speaking Marnie is the sort of doting/smothering mama who shows up unexpectedly, lets herself into her daughter’s home with the key that is supposed to be used only for emergencies,  and dispenses unwanted advice about how Lori might deal with the breakup of her own long relationship.

Okay, we’ve seen this comedy before. Pushy mom, resisting child.

Except that “The Meddler,”  written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”), isn’t that movie at all.

When Lori leaves Los Angeles for a long location shoot, Marnie is left to her own devices and…and now we’ve got a drama about a widow exploring the options for the rest of her life.

That’s right, a drama. “The Meddler” is only nominally a comedy, if that.

Without Lori to fixate on, Marnie picks other targets. She befriends the Apple Store clerk (Jerrod Carmichael) who trains her to use her new iPhone; before long she’s talked him into enrolling at a local college and is even driving him back and forth to class.

 

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