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MANAGEMENT is a romantic comedy that chronicles a chance meeting between Mike Cranshaw (Steve Zahn) and Sue Claussen (Jennifer Aniston). When Sue checks into the roadside motel owned by Mike's parents in Arizona, what starts with a bottle of wine "compliments of MANAGEMENT" soon evolves into a multi-layered, cross-country journey of two people looking for a sense of purpose. Mike, an aimless dreamer, bets it all on a trip to Sue's workplace in Maryland only to find that she has no place for him in her carefully ordered life. Buttoned down and obsessed with making a difference in the world, Sue goes back to her yogurt mogul ex-boyfriend Jango (Woody Harrelson), who promises her a chance to head his charity operations. But, having found something worth fighting for, Mike pits his hopes against Sue's practicality, and the two embark on a twisted, bumpy, freeing journey to discover that their place in the world just might be together.
Tabloid darling Jennifer Aniston's personal life has been the source of endless fascination for those who are dismayed that the rich, famous, and beautiful actress just can't seem to find true love--and in Management, art imitates life, as the character she portrays can't settle on the right guy either, even without the paparazzi dogging her every move. Her Sue Claussen travels the country selling dreadful artwork to motels like the one she checks into in Kingman, Arizona, that's owned by Trish and Jerry (small but winning performances by Margo Martindale and Fred Ward). Son Mike (Steve Zahn), the likable dude who lives in the place and doubles as night manager, is immediately smitten, finagling his way into Sue's room with "complimentary" bottles of wine and champagne. Their talk is small and awkward; Mike isn't exactly Mr. Suave, but when, out of nowhere, he compliments her on her posterior, she inexplicably invites him to touch it. And so begins the relationship between his idealistic, aimless puppy dog and her prim, practical businesswoman. Sue's determined to make something more of herself, even if it means moving to Oregon to hook up with her ex-boyfriend, a former punk rocker who's now a rich but unhinged "yogurt mogul" (Woody Harrelson in the kind of role that's become all too typical for him). Meanwhile, Mike's content to follow her from one coast to the other until she recognizes what's really important in life. Not much of this is credible, and pretty much all of it is completely predictable. But that's hardly the point. Like most romantic comedies, Management relies on its stars to keep us interested, and while Zahn and Aniston's chemistry isn't exactly explosive, writer-director Stephen Belber keeps things simple and unpretentious, even throwing in positive messages about recycling and feeding the homeless without beating us over the head with them. --Sam Graham
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Top Customer Reviews
This film has no flaws and unlike films like "You, Me and Dupree" this film never tries too hard to be cute. It's amazing how such films can be churned out even in 2009. I wish I had waited and seen this at the movies but that was not meant to be. I sneaked an advanced screening copy from some place and I'm sorry for that. There is wonderful chemistry between Zahn and Aniston. Girls, you will love this. Guys, you will not hate your girls for this. Genuine, free spirited and unabashed.
- extremely well acted: the main characters have a sweetness and muddledness that evolves during the course of the movie, and does so in a way that is both moving and convincing. And, while at the beginning it was hard to believe that the two characters could grow close, by the end (or really the middle), it was very believable. I loved both Zahn and Aniston. and the supporting actors were funny (woody herrelson) and good (everyone).
- the story is romantic but not in a usual way. it's paced more slowly, which I liked a lot once I got used to it.
- it has a sweetness that derives from the Steve character (played by steve zahn), and actually from the other characters too.
if you like independent movies, with their unusual pacing, then definitely try this one.
STARRING: Steve Zahn, Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson, Margo Martindale, James Hiroyuki Liao and Fred Ward
WRITTEN BY: Stephen Belber
DIRECTED BY: Stephen Belber
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 15 May 2009
If you've seen the cover for Management, you may have thought to yourself, 'Wow, Steve Zahn looks a bit like a puppy dog.' If you did, you were right. He is a puppy with a real bad case of puppy love for Jennifer Aniston's character, Sue.
Zahn plays Mike who is kind of a slacker slash loaner slash something else. He never really did grow up but we love him nonetheless.
He works as a night-time manager at his parent's hotel called The Kingman Inn, in Kingman Arizona. His life is real blah, to say the least.
Then along comes Sue. She's an uptight art saleswoman from back east. She's in town for two nights selling some hotel paintings and happens to be staying at The Kingman Inn.
Mike is instantly smitten for her and she is almost repulsed by his unique awkwardness. I won't spoil for you how they meet and how funny it is, because if you haven't seen the trailers (like I hadn't) then it will be a nice little treat for you.
I don't know whether to credit the actors or the writer/director (Stephen Belber) for this brilliant scene; they probably all deserve the credit. It was shot so well and has so much to it for the small amount of dialogue that's used.
Eventually, Mike grows on Sue just a tad and she leaves to head back east. Mike thinks there was a way bigger connection than there actually was and acts on it. He takes all his money and buys a one way ticket across the country to go and surprise her at work.
Sue is not pleased but does mildly see this as a sweet gesture and agrees to spend a little time with him. Once she discovers he only had enough cash for a one way ticket, she buys him a ticket back home and tells him it's just not going to work out between the two of them.
He learns that she has quit her job and moved to Washington to help her ex-boyfriend, who is now her new boyfriend again, who would still technically be considered an old boyfriend, right? Anyway, to help him with his yogurt business.
Mike realizes that he may lose her forever and sells everything he has and moves to Washington. Once there, he has no idea how to contact her or find her and is homeless and jobless.
He meets Al, (James Hiroyuki Liao), who next to Mike was the funniest character in the movie. Al works in a Chinese-American restaurant that his parents run and offers Mike a job and a place to stay. Mike agrees and moves into their basement.
Together, they set out on a quest to get Sue back for Mike. Al is the ultimate wing man and is hilarious. I'm sure we can expect to see this young actor in a lot more films.
They eventually track Sue and her boyfriend down and plenty of funny shenanigans are had. Woody Harrelson plays the boyfriend who is often referred to as, 'an ex punk'. Needless to say, as always Woody adds a nice mix into the comedic elements of this film.
But the film isn't just a comedy. It's filled with several dramatic and touching moments that really hit you in the gut. This isn't your typical romantic comedy by any means. There are no clichés here and the movie isn't predictable.
In addition to a lot of laughs, there are great performances from every actor on screen. One thing that makes it so great is how much you get out of short scenes. Fred Ward and Margo Martindale aren't in the film for very long at all, but you feel like you really get to know them because their performances as Mike's parents are so believable and enjoyable.
I especially loved the scene between Mike and his father involving a necklace. It's such a simple scene and with other actors would have been a lot less.
Aniston may make a lot of the same kinds of movies but she never is the same character in her films. Here she is uptight but caring and has a soft side that only Mike can seem to bring out in her.
Zahn definitely has a bigger part in the movie. We follow him through the entire film and I think this is probably his best performance. There is a scene towards the end of the film where he really breaks down and we see that he's a lot more than just the funny guy. Steve Zahn can play both sides of the coin, being dramatic and hilarious every bit as good as Robin Williams.
If you want to watch a romantic comedy that most of us can relate to, will surely bring a smile to your face and a tear to your cheek, then Management is that film.
Stephen Bebler did a knock out job for this being his first major film. It was beautifully written, hysterical at times and heart-warming at others. More films of this genre should take a few notes from what he's done here.