I Could Never Be Your Woman
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Michelle Pfeiffer (Hairspray) and Paul Rudd (Knocked Up) star in this hilarious romantic comedy for the ages. Rosie (Pfeiffer) is a 40+ successful-but-divorced TV producer and single mom who falls for the charming new 29-year old actor (Rudd) on her show. When their relationship gets hot and heavy, Rosie must come to terms with the not-so-easy reality of dating a younger man. From the writer/director of Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High - and featuring Jon Lovitz, Tracey Ullman and Fred Willard in uproarious supporting roles -- I Could Never Be Your Woman is a witty, fun-filled romp that proves once and for all you're only as old as you feel.
I Could Never Be Your Woman is an Amy Heckerling film in the very best sense: very funny, culturally relevant, a little bitter and a little sweet. Heckerling's body of work is often labeled inconsistent: On the plus side, you have teen classics Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless, both of which captured the '80s and '90s zeitgeists perfectly and were huge commercial and critical successes. On the other, more disappointing side, we find the Look Who's Talking trilogy and A Night at the Roxbury. After her last foray behind the camera, the mildly funny but pretty uninteresting film The Loser, Heckerling has come back with an extremely entertaining and likeable movie that has unfortunately been overshadowed by a lot of controversy regarding the film's release and studio politics. I Could Never Be Your Woman is a movie about Rosie, a divorced woman in her 40s (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the younger man she falls in love with (the perennially likeable Paul Rudd). It is also a movie about youth-obsessed Hollywood, celebrity culture, and the inevitability of aging. Rosie is the mother of a teenage daughter (Atonement's Saoirse Ronan) and struggles to raise her daughter apart from the warped narcissistic values of Hollywood, while being in a position of perpetuating those same values (Pfeiffer plays the creator and producer of a teen TV show). While the movie is otherwise a jumbled mess of themes and plot points, Heckerling succeeds in keeping it cohesive. With this A-list cast, Heckerling's strong pedigree, and a genuinely enjoyable script, this is a film that didn't deserve a straight-to-video-release. --Kira Canny
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Then she spectacularly crashed and burned with the appropriately named "Loser" (2000). That career breaker would be in the running for a "worst film of all time" designation, were it not for its modest scale. Nonetheless it exposed huge deficiencies in Heckerling's writing talents, acting for the camera directing skills, and basic judgment.
Six years and no films later she was finally able to cobble together another modest scale film "I Could Never Be Your Woman", which is much closer to "Loser" in concept and execution than to her successful films.
Heckerling is at heart an expressionistic movie-maker; a fine quality except that mainstream audiences, used to a steady diet of movie realism, sometimes just don't get it. Her two main successes were situations where the surreal stuff was an ironic undercurrent masked by a realistic facade. With "Loser" her elements went out of balance and she repeats this same mistake in the main storyline here; a blend of the Hollywood insider story Altman did so well in "The Player" and the standard Lifetime Channel exploration of female angst, aging, and discontent.
Fortunately there is parallel storyline involving the main character's middle school daughter, which allows Heckerling to get back to what she does best. And even more fortunate is the casting of newcomer Saoirse Ronan in this role. Ronan has since broken out with her Oscar nominated performance in "Atonement" (2007). "I Could Never Be You Woman" was her first feature film, which she easily steals. So much so that you are tempted to fast- forward through the scenes in which she is not present. Heckerling should have recognized what she had here and initiated major script revisions to amp up Ronan's screen time; especially more scenes of her playing off Paul Rudd (her mother's boyfriend) and Jon Lovitz (her father). Even so this will be become a minor cult classic on the strength of this one performance.
Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd (who played Cher's stepbrother in "Clueless") play the film's May-December romantic couple. Their chemistry is not bad and the romance is mostly played for its comic qualities. This stuff is good enough to keep and certainly not one of the film's fatal weaknesses. These can be found in some ill-conceived expressionistic elements: Tracey Ullman as an extremely boring Mother Nature, Fred Willard as an unfunny version of his Ron Albertson "Waiting for Guffman" (1996) character, and Sarah Alexander as a kind of concentration of all the irritating qualities of Jenny McCarthy. The one expressionistic element that does work is the "Head of the Class" style television show that Pfeiffer's character is producing; complete with tacky production design and middle age actors playing high school students.
The film might just be the highest-profile motion picture ever to take the direct-to-DVD route, due to bad financial practices rather than the marketability of the final product. Then again when you try to figure out the film's target audience you realize that it is even narrower than the standard "chick flick", and unlike Heckerling's hit films there is nothing here of interest to the teen demographic.
Rosie (Pfeiffer) is a middle age TV writer/producer whose once popular TV series needs a talent transfusion, and whose main occupation seems to be staying young. Adam (Rudd), a 28 year-old actor, is added to the cast and it is quickly apparent that he and Rosie are soul mates despite the age differential. Middle school daughter Izzie (Ronan) has a crush on a boy at her school and Rosie must adjust to her daughter growing up. As someone observed earlier, Izzie is a little like what "Juno" might have been four years before her pregnancy. Ronan's two songs (including a parody of Britney's "Oops" with altered lyrics) are the film's comedic highlights.
The DVD package is pretty basic; a few deleted scenes, the unused theatrical trailer, and an extremely lame commentary.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
The tween daughter's love life was the perfect counterpoint to her mother's post-divorce interests. The music and costumes were great, and the so many of the secondary characters were just cartoonish enough to make their stories a well-anticipated delight. (And I soooo wish I could make crank calls to the Fonz, too!)
Tracey Ullman stole every scene she was in! Her Mother Nature character is hilarious.
After seeing I Could Never Be Your Woman once, it went right into my Amazon shopping cart. This is a film to watch again and again any time you need a little cheering up. Loved it!
hope Michelle doesn't cave in for any plastic surgery - she earned every one of those lines and looks fab! When is she going to record an album???? Voice is great! Thanks Michelle for another great DVD for my collection. Can't wait for Personal Effects.