Movies released by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company have always been easily described in a sentence. With I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, we finally have one that can be described in a title.
It's goofy, it's obvious, and several of its inspirations are only borderline successful, but with the exception of David Fincher's Zodiac, the figure-skating comedy Blades of Glory is the most thoroughly enjoyable movie I've yet seen in 2007. It's also, quite possibly, the best, most unexpectedly clever work of its type since The 40-Year-Old Virgin. How do I even begin to describe how surprising this is?
As long as there's a Hollywood, there will be a surfeit of romantic comedies, but when was the last time you saw one that was as charming and magical as it pretended to be? Granted, Hitch made oodles of money, but the platonic love between Will Smith and Kevin James was more engaging than either of their characters' eventual hook-ups, and The Wedding Date, in which Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney made flirtation look like an act of desperation, was just slightly less romantic than any given episode of Will & Grace.
As Hollywood romantic comedies go, the Will Smith vehicle Hitch isn't bad, which, unfortunately, isn't the same as actually being good. But judging by the film's sensational box-office intake - not to mention the enthusiastic audience response at the screening I attended (people actually applauded throughout) - no one seems much bothered by the movie's mediocrity; many viewers prefer a romantic comedy that doesn't challenge or excite them in the least to films such as Before Sunset and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sideways, works that understand and explore the nature of romance in ways that feel revelatory.
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