Every Friday night, Movies.com sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.
Synopsis: Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) has the perfect life until the head of an alternative school (Paul Rudd) introduces her to an extraordinary student, who might just be her son.
Was This A Good Date Movie?
Sarah: Hmm…it’s depressing and unsexy. I’m not sure those are two things you want on a date.
Joe: Right. The trailers make this out to be a light comedy, but it’s really a drama based on a novel.
Sarah: It’s so frustrating! There have been no good romantic comedies recently. When I see Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, I expect something funny and engaging, but this is just a fail.
Joe: Actually, this is the perfect "date movie" cover story for teens. They can tell their parents they’re going to see it, then hang out in the woods and hook up. Later, when their parents ask them about the film, they can just say, "Tina Fey is so funny!"
Tina Fey Is Awesome at Comedy – but What About Drama?
Joe: I don’t understand why Tina Fey would be in this movie. She has a pretty good track record: 30 Rock, Mean Girls, Baby Mama… all comedies with some light drama, but this is a drama with some light comedy and she can’t pull it off. I don’t buy her as a character, especially not a dramatic one.
Sarah: There’s no Portia Nathan. There’s only Tina Fey. When you put her in a movie, she’s likable and funny, but I can’t look at her and think she’s someone else.
Joe: It’s like watching Hamlet starring David Letterman. You wouldn’t believe it was anyone but him.
What Drove You Nuts?
Sarah: This movie doesn’t follow any rules, even those of basic storytelling. Her mundane long-term relationship ends predictably (and conveniently) and she meets a quirky, vanilla Paul Rudd. But, the movie doesn’t show us the process of how they get caught up in each other, which is pretty much the ONLY thing a rom-com has to do.
Joe: Well, there’s also chemistry. Rudd and Fey aren’t sexy, even when they’re having sex.
Sarah: There is absolutely no spark between them. At one point, Paul Rudd tells Tina Fey she’s "exquisite." Exquisite? Because they have some witty banter? She has the same banter with a cow.
Joe: I’m jealous of your passion. The movie was too boring to inspire anything in me but sadness.
What Will You Be Thinking About Tomorrow?
Joe: That everyone, including the admissions officer, believes a special kid like Jeremiah would excel at Princeton, when in reality he would be irreparably damaged.
Sarah: Well, nobody in this movie thinks you should avoid being damaged. The mother-daughter relationship is fundamentally broken but played for laughs. Mom didn’t tell you she had aggressive breast cancer? That’s just so her. She wants you to stop calling her "mom"? How evolved.
Joe: I do like that for all her "independence" talk, Tomlin swooned at the first Russian who hit on her.
Sarah: Paul Rudd and Tina Fey would make awesome co-hosts on Sesame Street or amazing dinner guests. They don’t make believable lovahs, but my affection for them is so strong that I’m still not mad at them for this movie.
Joe: I can’t believe you said lovers like that.
Sarah: I just can’t use it un-ironically. If I’m uncomfortable, you have to be too.
Joe: There’s a scene with Rudd and Fey in a shower stall a la Tony and Angela. There was an opportunity to make it sexy and funny. Instead, Fey leaves after 30 seconds. The whole movie is like that: one big missed opportunity.
Sarah: You know Tony and Angela eventually became… lovahs.
Joe: You’re the worst.
Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.