Vin Diesel hams it up in Sidney Lumet's mafia courtroom drama, which still feels tired, even on DVD.
|Lena Headey and Piper Perabo can't salvage their meandering|
Is it progress for a gay-themed movie to be as wan and meandering as the blandest straight romance? As generic as its title, this British romantic comedy offers one twist: The mousy heroine leaves her new husband for another woman, the forthright hottie who did the flowers for her wedding.
Rachel--played by Piper Perabo with a comes-and-goes British accent--marries clean-cut Heck (Matthew Goode, giving the same put-upon nice-guy performance as in Match Point). But when she locks eyes with Luce at her wedding, she feels the inexorable pull of a soulmate.
The movie's main theme is this conflict between finding your soulmate and settling for less, reiterated in a subplot about Rachel's sex-starved parents--who are more alive and convincing (if one-note) characters than the youngsters around them.
The idea that you "just know" someone's right for you is a convenient way to avoid dramatizing anything. It's as if you can just wave the magic wands of "endless love" and "girl-girl romance" and skip interesting people, unusual twists, sexual chemistry or anything beyond 90 paint-by-numbers girl-meets-girl minutes. C-
Includes: Commentary track, interviews, deleted scenes.
Commander in Chief: 2-Disc Inaugural Edition, Part I
It started so well. The first episode of this freshly canceled TV drama moves fast, introduces strong characters and sets up what should have been a lively series.
In the first minutes Vice-President Mackenzie Allen (statuesque Botox victim Geena Davis) learns the president has had a stroke, and pressure mounts for her to resign. A university chancellor and political independent, she never supported the president's right-wing agenda, and he wants to be succeeded by Nathan Templeton, the snakelike speaker of the House (Donald Sutherland, whose silky bluster lifts the show whenever he turns up).
Allen changes her mind about quitting once Templeton makes a rude remark about women, setting in motion the 10 episodes of intrigue and backbiting collected on this DVD, including a romance between her righteous African-American chief of staff and Templeton's leggy aide (Species' Natasha Henstridge); tension between Allen and her husband (Homicide's Kyle Secor), who used to be her chief of staff and resents becoming first husband; and lots of West Wing -style political and diplomatic crises.
Like Allen's presidency, the show quickly loses its way, mired in stagey dialogue, improbable events, and Davis' increasingly frozen face and wooden line readings. There was more action behind the scenes, as creator Rod Lurie was fired and replaced by TV veteran Steven Bochco, who was then fired too.
Maybe that's why the DVD puzzlingly has only 10 episodes, not a whole season, spread over two discs with no extras. If you're determined to collect this West Wing knockoff, wait for the complete DVD set that's no doubt in the future. C+
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