24 BANKS IS­LAND – with a French in­fu­sion By Charles Cole

Screen Gems 2010 Di­rected by Lasse Hall­ström

NZ Today - - FRONT PAGE -

My fa­ther and I al­ways joke when we see a ter­ri­ble film, that at least it is not as bad as Sa­hara, the 1983 movie, which was essen­tially a ve­hi­cle for view­ers to watch the stun­ning looks of a young Brooke Shields. Set early in the 20th Cen­tury, I re­mem­ber my fa­ther lament­ing that he could tell the cars were four-wheel drives (which in those days were cer­tainly not in com­mon use) and in one scene, he re­called, a truck mounted cam­era went by in the back­ground. Yes it was truly aw­ful, but com­pared to Dear John, it was a stun­ning master­piece.

Dear John is pos­si­bly the worst film ever made and I do not say that lightly. I would have stopped watch­ing it, but I thought, no I will fin­ish it and then I can re­view it and you can avoid the same tor­ture that I en­dured.

John is in the Spe­cial Forces and while on leave, he meets and falls in love with Sa­van­nah. She has, of course, a bunch of male ad­mir­ers who are given a taste of what makes Spe­cial Forces so spe­cial, when one of them speaks out of turn. In no time flat the whole team is left writhing on the ground as the cho­sen one stalks off. I mean hon­estly, why would a woman find this at­trac­tive? Af­ter a bit of out of fo­cus canoodling with req­ui­site cheesy mu­sic play­ing, one is left to pre­sume that they in­dulge off cam­era in what my fa­ther calls, ‘un­speak­able de­lights’ and fall in love. He soon re­turns to the war zone and they keep in touch in the good old-fash­ioned way, by writ­ing let­ters.

As al­ways with bad movies, se­quences with sac­cha­rine mu­sic over­lay­ing them at­tempt to tie to­gether the painful di­a­logue. Chan­ning Ta­tum as John Tyree has only one ex­pres­sion, whether he is par­tak­ing in un­speak­able de­lights or get­ting shot. At least he has a good, well-shaven body.

Amanda Seyfried looks at home on the beach, but she too is un­be­liev­able and her hair is so beau­ti­fully coiffed, it is un­re­al­is­tic. That’s why I like Bri­tish films, be­cause peo­ple look nor­mal and don’t look like they have spent two hours in hair and makeup.

In an at­tempt to pro­vide a sto­ry­line, and in­deed to jus­tify the ti­tle, en­ter stage left a solo par­ent fa­ther who is try­ing to bring up an autis­tic boy. In the ab­sence of the hero­ine’s fa­ther, he has taken on the bur­den of mak­ing sure that she is not soiled by con­tact with an un­suit­able suitor and ad­vises our hero that should he fail to treat her with due re­spect, he will break ev­ery bone in his body. Leav­ing aside the Spe­cial Forces fac­tor, this seems un­likely as he is suf­fer­ing from in­cur­able can­cer. Mean­while, in­spired by the events of 9/11, our hero signs on for another tour of duty.

Fi­nally, he gets an op­por­tu­nity to change his ex­pres­sion. But alas, even the Dear John let­ter in­form­ing him his love has be­come en­gaged to another (fa­ther of autis­tic boy), it is not enough to move his face. His ex­pres­sion does not change, de­spite be­ing shot sev­eral times as he seeks to for­get.

The film feels like it will never end and this is not helped by the fact that nearly two decades pass in the movie and no one ages and our hero­ine’s hair re­mains coiffed to within an inch of its life.

Fi­nally, thank good­ness, our hero and hero­ine em­brace prior to em­bark­ing on a life­time of un­speak­able de­lights to­gether.

We watched it on Sky and my dad said it was re­mark­able that be­cause it fit­ted so seam­lessly with the ad­ver­tise­ments, it was hard to tell whether you were watch­ing the movie or them. Ugh. No stars from me.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.