Alice in Movieland

{January 29, 2010}   Hope Springs (2003)

When British artist Colin Ware (Colin Firth) receives an invitation to the wedding of his fiancée and another man, he flies to the most hopeful sounding place he can find: Hope, Vermont. He arrives, nearly immobilized by emotional distress, and his motel manager (Mary Steenburgen) calls her friend Mandy (Heather Graham) who’s a therapist at the local nursing home to come talk to him. She’s young and attractive, but things quickly become ridiculous with her glugging down an entire bottle of liquor on their first outing and then stripping down and jumping around his motel room because being naked makes her happy (couldn’t be due to the fact that she’s drunk). Colin is thus instantly attracted to her (well, she *is* naked), but the movie then tries to make us believe that their attraction builds slowly as they continue to see each other around town. Who wrote this script?? Anyway, they’re supposed to be in a believable relationship, happy and falling in love, when Colin’s ex-fiancée Vera (Minnie Driver) shows up claiming that the invitation was just a gag to get his attention because she felt they were drifting apart (hello, heartless psycho). Colin tells her to leave, but in a most annoyingly stubborn fashion she continues to hang around to attempt to get him to take her back. She slyly tricks Mandy, who responds something like a melodramatic teenager and tells Colin they’re through. Pepper in a bit more unbelievability and plotting which I suppose was intended to be intriguingly suspenseful and the movie ends up falling far short of its goal of being a witty and charming romantic comedy.

I’m sure the actors did the best they could with what they had, but it comes off as ridiculous and I blame very bad writing. By far, not my favorite Mary Steenburgen piece (though, to her credit, she does do ditzy almost too well – very scary) and I prefer Firth in roles a little more… I’m not even sure what. Random: Oliver Platt plays the major.


et cetera