The Rewrite is a film that should heed its own advice. It’s a derivative and forgettable rom-com that is in desperate need of a re-working or two. The film is redeemed in part by a strong and likeable cast of actors that will be familiar to audiences, but this is not enough to get it completely over the line.

The film is written and directed by Marc Lawrence. It’s also the fourth collaboration between Lawrence and Hugh Grant (whose most famous roles were decades ago with Four Weddings & A Funeral and Bridget Jones’s Diary). These two men have previously been responsible for the lacklustre films: Did You Hear About the Morgans?and Two Weeks Notice. The Rewrite looks poised to join this dismal list.

Hugh Grant stars as Keith Michaels, a washed-up Hollywood screenwriter, who had early success with a film called, “Paradise Misplaced”. The movie was an Oscar winner and a classic but his subsequent works were commercial flops. These days he is stuck begging for work from disinterested Hollywood types who are too busy looking for the next Kick-Ass.

Michaels is so desperate that he is forced to take a job as a lecturer in a New York State university despite his belief that writing is an innate quality that cannot be taught. He also believes that those who can’t do, teach. Grant’s character actually shares a few things in common with Joaquin Phoenix’s Abe in Irrational Man. The two are initially dis-engaged, self-destructive and caught up between two women (and one is a young student of theirs).

Marisa Tomei is an idealistic, aspiring writer, single mother and university student. She sees Michaels struggling and tries to whip him into shape, even though there are moments when he’s not particularly likeable (he leaves a very bad impression on his feminist, teaching colleague, Mary Weldon (the excellent, Allison Janney)). At times Hugh Grant goes into autopilot, playing the same dithering Englishman looking for sympathy as he’s played in previous films (in this latest instalment he is sad about his failed marriage, estranged son and ho-hum existence).

The Rewrite is a light-hearted and forgettable rom-com that offers up a fish-out-of-water scenario. It is semi-autobiographical on the part of director, Marc Lawrence and is a soft and unoriginal tale about second chances that is littered with stereotypes and clichés. The story is pleasant enough and the cast is nice but there is a lot of room for improvement because otherwise it runs the risk of being redubbed, “The Rehash”.


Originally published on 11 October 2015 at the following website: http://iris.theaureview.com/dvd-review-the-rewrite-usa-2014/

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