Writer Paul Haggis' Honeymoon With Harry, considered by many to be one of the best unmade scripts in Hollywood, is again showing signs of life after years of false starts. Deadline reports that Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper sat down at De Niro's Tribeca Production offices two weeks ago to read the lead roles in a run-through organized by New Line. Now, director Jonathan Demme (Jimmy Carter Man From Plains, Silence of the Lambs) is circling the project for his next feature, meaning Haggis' script may finally be gaining the momentum it needs to enter development.
In what Deadline calls a "James Brooks-style look at two characters who loathe one another but are stuck together at a time when each is in desperate shape," Cooper read the role of a "formerly self-centered womanizing booze-hound who changed his ways when he met a girl and fell in love." De Niro read as "the girl’s father, who recognizes himself in the young man, and tries to break them up." The two get engaged anyway, but the girl dies tragically just before their wedding day, leaving the groom to go on their honeymoon alone, where he drowns his grief in booze. There, he runs into his would-be father-in-law, who has come to spread his daughter's ashes on the beach.
New Line and producer Mike Karz began developing the project, which has both comedy and drama elements, in 2004, when the studio bought an unpublished novel by Bart Baker, and assigned screenwriter and director Paul Haggis (In The Valley of Elah, Crash) to write the screenplay. Haggis eventually signed on to direct as well, and had Vince Vaughn and Jack Nicholson lined up to star. Unfortunately, the project fell apart amidst the chaos of the New Line shakeup in 2008 and the 2007-2008 writer's strike.
Luckily, Cooper became interested in the project, and brought his pal De Niro (with whom he just wrapped production on The Dark Fields) onboard as well. Though no deals have yet been made, it looks like Honeymoon With Harry may finally be edging towards development. With its stars attached and Demme circling to direct, it's beginning to sound like we'll actually get to see what all the fuss is about one day.
Though Garry Marshall hasn’t made a decent flick since 1990’s Pretty Woman he still apparently wields a not inconsiderable amount of clout in Hollywood. What else could explain the all-star ensemble of actors who gathered for Valentine’s Day? Among the major names found probing the turgid depths of the nearly 80-year-old director’s insipid rom-com are Julia Roberts Anne Hathaway Ashton Kutcher Jessica Alba Jamie Foxx Jessica Biel Taylor Lautner and various other prominent actors who either owe favors to Marshall or whose incriminating photos he holds in his possession.
A slice-of-life tale unfolding in Los Angeles over the course of a single Valentine’s Day the film chronicles the romantic adventures of a diverse cast of characters at various stages of relationships and encompassing virtually every conceivable demographic category. Their ages backgrounds and perspectives often dramatically differ but they each share one trait in common: Almost without exception they are all ceaselessly painfully disastrously unfunny.
Some temper their dishumor with a dose of the annoying like Kutcher whose dopey florist Marshall unwisely chose to anchor Valentine’s Day’s story around. Others add a dash of the preposterous like Roberts dressed in military fatigues in a laughable attempt to play a U.S. Army Captain on leave from the front. Still others add cloying sentiment to the mix like Bryce Robinson’s lovelorn 10-year-old whose grandparents played by Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo ply him with nostalgic romantic tips pre-fabricated for maximum inter-generational cuteness. Whatever your preferred method of cinematic torture may be you’ll undoubtedly encounter it in this film.
In addition to challenging the pain threshold Valentine’s Day offers a test of endurance as well its story requiring over two hours to satisfy the narrative demands of its swollen cast. If you didn’t despise Hallmark’s ersatz holiday before you certainly will after enduring this Bataan Death March of rom-coms.
October 09, 2001 1:35pm EST
Young Max Keeble (Alex D. Linz) is starting his first day of junior high school. After dreaming about how great it will be he soon learns there are bullies attractive girls who don't know his name and worse his family is going to move in a week. Amidst all of this pressure he decides that he has nothing to lose by bucking the system and taking the horse by the reins. Max thinks that his big move at the end of the week gives him the freedom to make that figurative "big move" against all the irritants in his life without retribution. He recruits best friends Megan (Zena Grey) and Robe (Josh Peck) to help him out and they "get even" (with comical effort) with the evil ice cream man the school tough guys and the egotistical principal. While the story is predictable it reaches beyond the "good guys always win" theme as Max realizes he can play by the rules and still have a good time.
Linz is Max Keeble the short cute moral hero. Despite his nerdy parents he seems to have inherited a pretty broad perspective for a kid: he genuinely takes everybody for face value and even affords them a second chance. He mixes well with the other actors taking the lead with natural rather than forced savvy. Grey as best friend Megan the small-but-spunky redhead who dons a different funky hairstyle with each new day of school compliments Linz's performance yet holds her own. Peck is Robe the pleasantly plump kid who doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. Orlando Brown is lunch money purloiner Dobbs who has a minor but creative role as a kid ready to "invest" everyone's funds with--or without--their permission. The adults should get some credit too. Principal Jindraike's (Larry Miller) obvious malapropisms word creations and animal dances lend further comic relief.
This movie plays on all the current fads of the day including sports songs and lingo. There's a cameo appearance by skateboard pioneer Tony Hawk; we hear the recurring melody of Britney Spears' song "Baby One More Time" whenever the hot 9th grade girl walks onto the set; and Max tells us right away that he has "phatitude"-- that is he's got a phat (cool) attitude. Obviously director Tim Hill is familiar with what kids like and with a resume loaded with Nickelodeon and Disney projects it is clear he's kept up on his homework. The major criticism comes with the pretty flat telling of the story: it unfolds chronologically without implementing many interesting edits or camera angles where there are perfect places to do so.