Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Life Less Ordinary (1997) Film Review
A Life Less Ordinary
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
Most of the time, when a successful creative team re-unites, it means good results all round. Here, however, though the gang behind both the attention-grabbing Shallow Grave and world-conquering Trainspotting are back (director Danny Boyle, writer John Hodge, producer Andrew MacDonald, star Ewan McGregor), the end product isn't nearly as good.
After being evicted, dumped and fired, directionless cleaner Robert (McGregor) takes his rich boss's daughter Celine (Cameron Diaz) hostage. While nice guy Robert bungles nearly every aspect of the kidnapping, angels Jackson (Delroy Lindo) and O'Reilly (Holly Hunter) pull the strings to ensure he and Celine fall in love.
The film's biggest problem is that in trying too hard to avoid convention, proceedings feel constantly unpredictable and not in a good way. Though avoiding predictability is often good, here the offbeat antics are so scrambled that it feels like the story is made up as they go along.
Also, this is a rom-com, albeit a screwball, one, which calls for some chemistry between the leads. While both McGregor and Diaz are watchable enough as a likeable loser and a redemptive bitch, there's never any sense that they're 'made for each other'. Indeed, there's more heat between Lindo and Hunter's angelic matchmakers.
Worst of all, the action just never clicks. There's a host of imaginative ideas going on, but the ingredients never come together for an enjoyable whole. On the plus side, we get some witty exchanges and a moment of genuine eye-watering pain (Robert in a dentist's chair...). Plus, a where-did-that-come-from clay animation skit at the end is quite cool.