Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: My Sassy Girl

I wasn't very positive when I reviewed the trailer of My Sassy Girl, a remake of a South Korean romantic comedy. However, the movie pleasantly surprised me and it isn't as generic as the trailer makes it out to be.

Jesse Bradford plays Charlie Bellow, a nice, small town guy focused on college and his career. He rescues manic pixie dream girl Jordan (Elisha Cuthbert) from a collision with a subway, giving her room to insert herself into Charlie's life. Charlie reluctantly goes along with her crazy antics, and despite the bodily harm she causes him, he falls in love with her. But Jordan has a secret that will test the strength of his love for her.

I don't know why this movie went straight to DVD. I have seen far worse movies in theaters this year. One could argue the lack of star power. I will watch anything Jesse Bradford is in, but he isn't a household name. Elisha Cuthbert was a promising talent once upon a time, but hasn't lived up to her promise and hasn't been in a (relatively) successful movie since House of Wax in 2005. Both do a fine job here. Cuthbert is a bit off at times, but has enough charm for the part. Bradford is a relatable leading man and manages not to get overshadowed by Cuthbert's quirky role.

I've been contemplating if the character of Jordan could be defined as a 'manic pixie dream girl'. The term was coined by Nathan Rabin and he describes the character as existing "solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." At first glance she is, but several other characteristics of the manic pixie dream girl state that she is a secondary character and she has a lack of inner life. We find out Jordan has a complex inner life and she's as much a leading character as Charlie is. Maybe the term 'manic depressive pixie dream girl' would be more appropriate.

That being said, My Sassy Girl isn't a generic romantic comedy. Though it has comedic elements, the heart of the movies lies in its dramatic storyline. I know nothing about the original version, so I cannot compare, but I do know that the dramatic part works here. If not for the drama, Cuthbert's character would barely be tolerable.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I didn't think I would be so emotionally invested in Charlie and Jordan's romance that it would actually reduce me to tears, but congratulations My Sassy Girl, you did it. A 4/5.

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