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Romance falls flat in movies lacking sizzle

Observer Scene | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

“You’ve Got Mail” (1998)

The idea for this movie is brilliant. Let’s have the audience watch Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks send e-mails to one another for two hours.

I feel sorry for the people who actually said, “Hey, let’s go pay good money to watch two people send e-mails.” If you really want to watch somebody send e-mails for two hours, go sit outside a cyber-café and watch some college nerd jam the world’s inboxes with spam; it might be less brain-numbing. Fortunately, I rented this romantic abomination and watched it at home, keeping my proximity to the bathroom close for when I inevitably got the urge to throw up.

I’m not sure which was worse, the accentuation of Tom Hanks’ receding hairline, or that anyone could believe that an Internet dating scenario could end up with any result other than some creepy 40-year-old getting arrested for posing as a younger man to seduce a high school girl. What ever happened to handwritten letters?

-Mark Witte

“Failure to Launch” (2006)

Matthew McConaughy is poison to romantic comedies and his 2006 vehicle with Sarah Jessica Parker is no exception. There is little to love and little to laugh at in this miserable movie. Surprisingly, McConaughy has the more sympathetic character this time since Parker’s character essentially tries to justify prostitution. This romantic comedy contains one big mystery that is never fully explained: Why hasn’t McConaughy’s Tripp moved out of his parents’ house yet? That’s a pretty big hurdle to overcome considering it’s the whole premise of the movie. But the most repulsive part is when the romantic leads reference “A Philadelphia Story.” Tripp and Paula shouldn’t even be allowed to utter that movie’s name.

-Cassie Belek

“She’s All That” (1999)

It’s a favorite among our generation, but when you watch “She’s All That” when you’re not 12 years old, you get a whole new impression of the romantic comedy. Let’s just say that it doesn’t exactly hold up almost 10 years later like “10 Things I Hate About You” does. The acting is painful, the performance art is scary and Sixpence None the Richer has lost its charm. The choreographed group dance at the prom is pretty spectacular, but why is Anna Paquin in this movie again? The girl won an Academy Award at age 11. And how about this line for the romantic climax: “I feel just like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman.’ You know, except for the whole hooker thing.” Oh Laney Boggs, you sure know how to woo your man.

-Cassie Belek

“Over Her Dead Body” (2008)

If the ghost of your boyfriend’s dead fiancé hovers over you when you’re about to get it on, does that somehow become creepily reminiscent of necrophilia? Though I can’t quite put my finger on it, something about the new Eva Langoria Parker flick is just not right. Perhaps it’s the bad acting. Maybe it’s the unoriginal plot line. Or, most likely, the basic premise of a love triangle, in which one or more members is deceased, is just plain wrong. However you look at it, this film is destined to be on our list. Might as well get it over with.

-Jess Shaffer

“Must Love Dogs” (2005)

In an attempt to combine the celebrity force of ’80s teen stars, “Must Love Dogs” unites John Cusack and Diane Lane on screen. But this middle-aged loving was far from being interesting, engaging, or even remotely funny. Basically on a scale from being compared to greats like “Something’s Gotta Give” and horrors like “Gigli,” “Must Love Dogs” falls much closer to J. Lo quality. Overall, it’s mediocre and unmemorable. That’s disappointing, considering the fame of “Say Anything” and “The Outsiders” – both pinnacle works of the ’80s. It just goes to show that as with dirty laundry, some things do not get better with time.

-Jess Shaffer

“Fever Pitch” (2005)

“Fever Pitch” is directed by the Farrelly Brothers and it stars Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. That should be all the reason you need to avoid it like the plague. The directors haven’t helmed a remotely decent movie since the late ’90s and nothing truly good since “Dumb and Dumber.” Jimmy Fallon is a blight on everything he touches. Drew Barrymore is more boring than an “American Dad” marathon. Not a good combination, so the results were not unexpected.

A date movie about an obsessed Red Sox fan is not appealing to anyone outside Boston, and probably not even there. If you have seen this movie, you are either extremely brave or unforgivably stupid. Either way, it’s a 100-minute exercise in suppressing your gag reflex. “Fever Pitch” will make you want to swear off cinema forever, move to Cheyenne, Wy. and begin plotting the downfall of everyone involved in making this travesty of a movie.

-Ryan Raffin

“50 First Dates” (2004)

“50 First Dates” is Adam Sandler at his worst. With the success of “The Wedding Singer” to back them up, he and Drew Barrymore teamed up for an absolutely horrible film. Sandler plays a Hawaiian bum who spends his time showing vacationing women a good time. Barrymore is a sweet but unfortunate victim of constant amnesia. Every day she wakes up and thinks it is the same day, the day she got in a car accident and dented her brain. Sandler falls hopelessly in love with her, and this gimmick of a plot leaves Sandler finding new ways of convincing her to go out with him that night. Nothing new, nothing special and lots of bad sexual innuendo. The only upside is watching Sean Astin, the star of “Rudy,” as Barrymore’s body-building, protective brother.

-Stephanie DePrez

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Scene and scene@nd.edu