Tuesday, 19 May 2009
It was only when I checked the IMDb page for this film that I realised that I’d seen it before. A further check of my records revealed I saw it at Cineworld on22nd June 2005 and awarded it a decent 7/10. On looking back that score may have been generous as I saw it in a double bill with Paris Hilton starrer ‘House of Wax’, but given it has been excised from my memory can’t bode too well for the rewatching.
I actually quite enjoyed it the second time around but beware it involves relationships so don’t watch it with a partner if you want to avoid an earnest discussion afterwards. The film involves the relationships and inter relationships between two couples. Peter Krause (Nate out of ‘Six Feet Under’) is married to Naomi Watts and works as a teacher and an aspiring writer. His wife is having a secret affair with her husband’s best friend, Mark Ruffalo.
Ruffalo is having a career break but is forced back to work by his wife’s love of lobster and lazing around a lot. Money is a bit tight and the cause of arguments and means he has to do his secret shagging on a rug in the woods. He thinks his wife is a bit lazy around the house and a bit too fond of the booze. The affair soon starts to expand the cracks in the already shaky relationships and Dern reveals that Nate had made a pass at her during a dinner party.
With everyone very educated and civilised there is no question of a punch up and the two men seem to have an unspoken agreement to let the other pump his wife. Clearly this can’t go on and after a few emotional blow outs things start to fall apart. Who will stay with who and for what reason?
That quick summary makes the film sound very earnest and talk heavy and that’s because it is. You do get four solid performances for your money but you will have to decide whether four good looking yuppies shagging around and shouting a lot is your idea of a fun night in. I know there’s a lot of subtext about the human condition and how our consumer lead lifestyle has lead to people becoming emotional cripples but would one decent car chase have hurt?
It’s hard to have much sympathy for any of them, apart from maybe the kids who have to put up with a lot of yelling and pee soaked beds. Of the four Dern attracts most of our goodwill early on as she’s the only one happy with her lot, but it isn’t long before she’s going for it like the best of them. Must be something in the water.
The relationship between the two men seemed a bit strange with their respective affairs not really bothering them at all. It may be that they’d see the hypocrisy in such a stance but that wouldn’t really ring true. Perhaps they love each other more than their naggy wives, which I could understand. Although there is a lot of sex going on it is all of that modest variety which given the loose morals on show seems a bit strange. There is some coarse language bandied about and at times it’s like a doubled up, poor man’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’. I like most of the talent on show but the emotionally draining script and depressing outlook means this is one where a third visit won’t be happening. Well maybe next year when I’ll have forgotten it all again.
Best Bit : If you go down to the woods today
‘W’ Rating : 12/23