Projections - Movie Reviews


The previews for Speechless, starring Geena Davis and Michael Keaton, whetted my appetite for an intelligent, amusing "relationship" movie.  Romantic comedies, when they're done well, are my favorite film genre, and I had previously enjoyed Director Ron Underwood's knack for comedy (City Slickers) and romance (Hearts and Souls).

Despite these high expectations, Speechless was minimally entertaining.  In fact, the entire first half had me shifting in my seat and even considering an early departure.  The characters were not well developed and the scenarios in which they found themselves were uneventful.  Michael Keaton and Geena Davis are likeable characters in their own right and I feel the film relied too heavily on this fact -- with orchestrated close ups highlighting their appeal.  In a romance, it is more important for the viewer to comprehend the attraction the characters have for each other than to recognize their individual attractiveness and Speechless failed in this area.

Ultimately, I did stay for the entire film and was rewarded with some cleverness in the second half.  The central characters, Julia (Davis) and Kevin (Keaton) fall for each other during a political campaign in which they're each playing instrumental roles in opposing camps.  Some of the promotional tactics they use in order to advance their respective candidates are very funny.  The film succeeded in depicting the precariousness of a candidate's popularity with voters and in demonstrating the pressure faced by campaign leaders to successfully market their candidate.  Politicians do have a way with words and the film satirizes their attempts to skirt issues and to shift the severity of their views to suit their audience.

I would recommend this film as a home video rental but feel that seven dollars could be better spent on the many excellent films to be released this holiday season.



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