"Simply put, The Rewrite just feels, well, underwritten"
The Rewrite is a film that feels really lazy. The characters are lazy, as is its direction, music, writing, jokes, and ultimately its plot. Hugh Grant, a failed screenwriter, begrudgingly resorts to teaching a scriptwriting course at a dead-beat college, only to be won over by the students and turn into a new man. Sure, it’s a simple, over-cooked plot, but if all of its elements were sizzling, it should at least be enjoyable. But it isn’t. Instead, it’s simply undercooked and tasteless.
It’s one of those stories that supposedly offers the audience a sneak peek into the world of filmmaking, whilst also satirising it. But there’s a problem; it’s really bad, faked satire. For example, when people are talking about film, they mention fake ones with fake titles that are so horrifically stupid. The title for the main one is Paradise Misplaced. Queue an eye roll every time you heard this because it’s so phony (and trust me they say it a lot). The plot for this faux movie that apparently won a Best Screenwriting Oscar involves angels going to Hell to rescue a misplaced soul. How that sounds like an Oscar-winner, I’ll never know…
Characters are so paper thin, one risks getting a paper cut, which would probably be more enjoyable. They’re simply stock characters with no further development than their one line definitions; Chris Elliot plays the nerdy, Shakespearean teacher; Marisa Tomei is, well, Marisa Tomei. There are lame sub-plots that are mentioned once and then randomly turn up again at the end. Our main character isn’t spiteful enough to be interesting. There’s no fire in him, nor is there a sharp-edged tongue we crave. Instead of being sadistically witty, keeping us engaged and enjoying his nastiness, he’s just a bit of a dull sleaze. He’s the equivalent of a wet cloth: floppy and a bit gross.
The point is it is boring. I could continue with the negatives, but I’d be repeating myself. There is, however, one saving grace in the shape of J.K. Simmons. He’s one of those actors who’ll put 100% into everything he does without fail. He has such a likeable screen presence. He’s a warm, yet fierce actor that you can’t not be hypnotized by. He’s the best thing about every film he’s in, especially this. And, thankfully, there’s actually depth to his character. Sure, it’s a tad superficial, but J.K. makes it work! Playing the father in an all-female family is perfect for him. It may sound wobbly on paper, but boy does he work it.
At the end of the day, The Rewrite gets to me because, frankly, it’s rather laborious. The absolute minimum of effort has been put into this. If you’ve friends coming over and said friends have terrible taste and/or love J.K. Simmons enough to sit through this tripe, then good one ‘em.
Simply put, The Rewrite just feels, well, underwritten.