Friday, August 15, 2008

THE GOOD NIGHT veers off track

THE GOOD NIGHT is a rather straightforward movie about lucid dreaming and comes off as indebted, but deeply inferior, to THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP. Martin Freeman (THE OFFICE) plays a faded Britpop star frustrated with his new career writing derivative commercial music. He's also frustrated with his deeply irritating girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow) and fantasises about a beautiful woman played by Penelope Cruz. Mocked by his amoral best friend (Simon Pegg), our hero turns to a variety of new-age kooks for techniques to sustain and even control his dreams. Finally, he actually meets a girl who looks just like the object of his fantasies.

The movie has some little comedic gems - Simon Pegg is on brilliant form and Britpop legend Jarvis Cocker is unnervingly convincing as a talking-head. But overall, THE GOOD NIGHT is a mess. The look of the film is bizarre - it's meant to be set in New York but is transparently set in London. The acting is mixed, with Danny de Vito and Michael Gambon wasted, and apparently unmotivated, in smaller roles. But most of all the script, from writer-director Jake Paltrow, veers off track. The movie starts of a romantic-comedy with an odd-ball streak, but ends up feeling like an Almodovar rip-off. Paltrow simply doesn't have the stones to handle the severe material he introduces.

THE GOOD NIGHT played Sundance 2007 and went on release in Russia, Greece, the USA and Israel in 2007. It was relased in 2008 in the UK and South Korea and is now available on DVD.

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