Today is Mother's Day. And in tribute to the Moms out there (especially my own!), and since it just happened to be sneak peeking on the holiday, I took in the mom-friendly Letters to Juliet this sunny Sunday at the absolutely fabulous, and nearly brand spanking new Regal theater at L.A. Live downtown.
Citizens of L.A., theater alert! This Regal spot is primo, and if you can keep it a secret, you can have a lot of fun here on Sunday at the early afternoon show...plenty of seats for everyone (so you can raise a few armrests and truly kick back), no long lines (so you can run up and down the hallway with hardly an irritated consumer to complain at you) and deluxe extras galore (ya know, the fancy hand dryers where you stick your entire arm in, marble landings outside the auditoriums, and a couple of restrooms that are actually movie-specific). Just saying - if you're in the City of Angels, it's a pretty heavenly spot to see a flick.
Back to the movie. It's called Letters to Juliet, but really, it's Mamma Mia without the ABBA songs, or Twilight without the whole vampire angle. Like Mamma, it features incredibly scrumptuous scenery (if you can't take a holiday to Italy, this might tide you over), a classy leading lady in Vanessa Redgrave (she doesn't get to sing like Meryl, but she's similarly divine) and the same Mia co-star in young, spirited Amanda Seyfried. The film throws in rom dram veteran Gael Garcia Bernal as the potential man of the hour and Seyfried's fiancee, only to toss in a curve with Ryan Phillippe lookalike and aloof charmer Christopher Egan. I like his candor a lot more than those sullen Twilight kids.
When I first heard the plot of this, my thought was, what's it about again? But let me give it a shot. See, women show up in Verona at the wall where Juliet pined for Romeo and leave all kinds of letters asking for help and advice about their love lives, their heartaches and so on and so forth. In turn, another group of women known as the secretaries of Juliet respond and try to offer some sort of solace or romantic hope. Well, when a vacationing Seyfried finds a letter in the wall that's been sitting there for 50 years, she just has to write back to the woman who lamented as a teen over leaving behind an Italian lad who may have been her true love. Seyfried writes, tells the woman that "true love is never too late," and thus begins a quest for Redgrave's character, her accompanying grandson Egan and Seyfried's aspiring journalist, who may just get a story out of it.
What follows is exactly what you think will follow in a bright-eyed love story set in probably the most beautiful places on earth. The execution -- filmwise -- is fair to middling, but if you're a fan of formula love stuff, there's no real reason you can't enjoy. If you're a guy like me, well, as I said, the Regal at L.A. Live is an amazing theater, and if I'm going to watch a rom dram com that's not exactly tailored for dudes, at least I saw it in an excellent venue. If my mom lived in L.A., I surely would have taken her to see it, and she would have loved it.
Day 3 note: Beyond the excellent and clean theaters at this location, they also have a totally awesome, four-story high auditorium labeled the "Premiere Cinema" house, complete with balconies and the aforementioned movie-specific bathrooms for whatever film is playing. While I couldn't decipher every bit of action in Iron Man on Day 1 from row 2 in the Universal IMAX theater, I will definitely be back here for a second screening of Iron Man 2, and the cool restrooms.