When I first heard about This Means War, I was immediately intrigued. A film where Chris Pine AND Tom Hardy are competing against each other to win the love of Reese Witherspoon? What girl doesn't want a bunch of hot guys vying for her affection? And how do you pick between two of the hottest hunks in Hollywood (answer: you don't -- you take them both). That scenario got me thinking about all the other different pairings Reese has had throughout her extensive movie career, and I wondered what it would be like to pit some of her past leading men against each one another to see who might win her heart in the end, and why. It's not going to be an easy decision; the Oscar-winner has co-starred with some dreamy guys over the years, but as the great Pat Benatar once said: Love is a Battlefield -- and it's time to go to war.
Owen Wilson vs. Luke Wilson
Blood is supposed to be thicker than water, but when a girl is involved all bets are off. Owen and Reese worked together in the rom-com How Do You Know? and while the movie was mediocre at best, their chemistry was anything but. On the other hand, who could forget Luke Wilson playing the lovable lawyer (they do exist) Emmett in Legally Blonde. He was able to turn Elle Wood's attention away from the hunky Warner, so his brother would have some stiff competition on his hands. But after weighing the options, we think Owen would emerge victorious. Luke's definitely a decent guy, but his quieter demeanor would put him at a disadvantage. Girls like a guy with some initiative and Owen seems to be the more outgoing of the two.
Winner: Owen Wilson
Robert Pattinson vs. Ryan Phillippe
This is a tough one, as Rob and Ryan are probably two of the best-looking co-stars Reese has ever worked with. While her Cruel Intentions co-star could be seen as having a bit of an advantage given their off-screen history together, it's important to note that the relationship ended in divorce, so the odds aren't in his favor. And the last time I checked, RPatz has never had any trouble getting the girl he wants. However, I'm afraid the 10-year age difference between the Water For Elephants co-stars cannot be ignored (she's 35, he's 25). It's not the biggest age gap Hollywood has ever seen, but I don't think RPatz is mature enough to handle the type of relationship Reese would be looking for at this point in time. We're giving this round to the equally hunky father of her children, Mr. Ryan Phillppe.
Winner: Ryan Phillippe
Mark Ruffalo vs. Josh Lucas
The decisions just don't get any easier. We're now dealing with two completely sweet and adorable guys who starred opposite Reese in two sweet and adorable movies: Just Like Heaven and Sweet Home Alabama. Mark's got the whole boy-next-door thing going on, whereas Josh is a man's man -- lean and rugged. Plus, he's got the whole Southern charm thing working in his favor. When push came to shove, we sided with Mark. Why? Because Reese Ruffalo is just too cute a name to pass up. (Sorry, it was a really close call and didn't know how else to choose). If it came down to a duel I feel that Lucas would win, no contest. But it isn't just about a guy's physicality. It's about their dedication to and compatibility with Reese. And for that, Mark has the slight upper hand. His kiss in Just Like Heaven brought Reese's character back to life - that should definitely count for something!
Winner: Mark Ruffalo
Vince Vaughn vs. Joaquin Phoenix
This was also a difficult call to make, given that most girls love the funny guy AND the singer. So how do you choose? Ultimately, it came down to the chemistry. Though Vince and Reese shared some hilarious moments together in Four Christmases, I could never really buy them as a legitimate couple (still, it was absolutely adorable to see Reese's petite body next to Vince's towering figure). Joaquin, on the other hand, had a scorching connection with her in Walk the Line. These two managed to believably portray one of the most iconic couples of all time, June Carter and Johnny Cash. It's therefore safe to assume that they would also have fantastic chemistry off-screen as well. Now if only we could do something about that beard of his...
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix
Twilight’s contentious “Edward vs. Jacob” debate was finally settled at the close of 2009‘s New Moon the second episode of Stephenie Meyers’ supernatural teen harlequin saga when plaintive emo hottie Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) definitively rejected the advances of Taylor Lautner’s musclebound man-wolf in favor of Robert Pattinson’s brooding vampire.
Or so we thought. Twilight’s fateful love triangle is revived in earnest by Eclipse part three of the series and this time the implications are serious -- relatively speaking of course. Taking over the helm from New Moon director Chris Weitz is David Slade (30 Days of Night Hard Candy) who adds a hefty dose of action to Twilight’s trademark mix of soaring romance and manic melodrama making Eclipse the first film in the saga in which -- get this -- something actually happens.
Indeed action is a primary theme of Eclipse. Like most high school seniors Bella wants some; her pasty paramour Edward Cullen however remains stubbornly chaste and not just because the briefest exposure to his unbridled vampire lust would almost certainly kill his all-too-human sweetheart. You see chivalrous Edward hails “from a different era ” one in which the institution of marriage meant everything and a man took care to mount a proper courtship before marrying a girl nearly a century his junior. (He’s 109 years old.) He asks her to marry him; she agrees but only if he’ll turn her into a vampire first; he hesitates pondering the unalterable consequences; the matter is tabled and heavy petting resumes. (This exchange is repeated ad nauseam throughout the remainder of the film.)
The constant fawning and unwavering devotion from impossibly beautiful Edward aren’t enough to sate Bella’s thirst -- she needs validation like a vampire needs blood -- and so she uses the flimsiest of pretexts to re-insert herself into the life of Jacob Black the sensitive werewolf she previously shunned who dutifully plies her with his own declarations of undying love. (Jacob to his credit has developed enough game since we last saw him to qualify as a serious contender for Bella’s affections and is no longer the devoted doormat we saw in New Moon. He’s still a tool though.) Game on.
But Edward and Jacob aren’t the only ones with designs on Bella. (Seriously are there no other hot emo chicks in the greater Pacific Northwest?) A ginger-haired menace (Bryce Dallas Howard) has emerged one that will require Edward’s vampire clan and Jacob’s wolfpack tribe longtime enemies forever on the verge of a climactic battle (in which Bella will serve as the jeans-and-hoodie-clad Helen of Troy no doubt) to put aside their differences and unite against a common enemy. In order to ensure Bella’s safety Edward and Jacob must form an uneasy tag-team (no not that kind of tag team much as it would likely better serve to resolve matters) to keep Bella safe from harm.
With its amped-up action sharpened wit and darker horror flick-inspired atmospherics Eclipse boasts the broadest appeal of all the Twilight films thus far. But that doesn’t mean it’s good. Director Slade’s grasp of plot development borders on amateurish in this film; Eclipse often feels less like a movie than a weighty discourse on the pros and cons of vampiredom laid out in lengthy exhaustingly repetitive chunks of exposition and awkward campy flashbacks as just about every character in the film including Edward attempts to dissuade Bella from joining the ranks of the bloodsuckers.
But alas no force no matter how utterly rational its arguments will keep Bella from her destiny. Which obviously is Edward. Or is it? Eclipse goes to great pains to invent ways to perpetuate the film’s romantic rivalry inserting scenes like the one in which Bella on the verge of freezing to death in a tent high up in the mountains is saved when Jacob arrives to heroically spoon her body temperature back to its proper level. (Eclipse is being hyped as the first “guy-friendly” Twilight flick but no film which includes a climactic spooning scene can rightly claim such a distinction.) Edward meanwhile with his poor vampire circulation is powerless to help.
Who will win in the end? Will it be abs over eyes? Obviously it will take two more movies (at least!) to solve this kind of wrenching dilemma.
Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) has it made. His screenwriting career is on the rise his first movie's just been made and he's got a cute girl. Life is good--until the House Un-American Activities Committee mistakenly fingers him as a Communist and he quickly falls from the A-list to the blacklist. Getting dumped by both his studio and his girl is nothing a little drinking can't remedy but after drowning his sorrows he nearly drowns himself when he decides to drive drunk and his car veers into the river knocking him unconscious. When Peter comes to he can't remember who he is or where he came from so he's taken in by the kindly people of Lawson a burg stuck in time and still mourning the loss of many of its sons in World War II. They mistake him for Luke Trimble one of their long-lost boys who went MIA in World War II and are overjoyed at his return. Luke's father Harry (Martin Landau) whose zest for life had dwindled so much that he let his beloved movie house The Majestic fall to ruin but with "Luke's" return he plans to reopen it. Celebrations abound. Peter-as-Luke even returns to his relationship with fiancée Adele (Laurie Holden). Meanwhile Peter may have forgotten who he was but the Feds haven't and they're on his tail.
When Carrey's given the right material like he was with The Truman Show he can exhibit moments of greatness. The Majestic doesn't give Carrey the leeway to show his quirky sensibilities demanding that he play it straight throughout the movie (there are a few--too few--glances at humor that Carrey doesn't play up). To bring off the kind of schmaltz this movie oozes Carrey had to bring something of an edge to his character. Instead Peter is neither likable nor unlikable coming off as a bland confused schmo until the climactic end which after two hours of his weak personality is wholly unbelievable. Landau is unexciting as a caricature of the sad sentimental old man without hope--you want to sympathize but there's something faintly chilly about him. Holden's liberated-woman lawyer might have played better in a contemporary movie; she looks and acts too much like a modern-day actress trying to portray a woman of the '50s.
Was this some kind of vanity project dreamed up by a director too taken with his own greatness and past success? Was Frank Darabont envisioning an It's a Wonderful Life for the next generation? (Psst…it's likely the majority of the modern moviegoing public doesn't know who Frank Capra is and could care less especially when the movie is as slow and as completely unbelievable as this one.) Apparently Darabont's in love with his own direction because hardly a moment goes by without some lingering reaction shot. Darabont took an intriguing story about amnesia and mistaken identity and slathered it with sap. Old-fashioned period stories can be lots of fun but it's imperative they be able to keep a present-day audience's interest by including a bit of modern wit and pace. Unfortunately this sticks to the straight-and-narrow. Nobody's going to buy the two-dimensional main characters the shiny happy townspeople or especially the schlocky my-country-'tis-of-thee finale. In its favor The Majestic's ultimate message is a nice one. The movie does have its heartfelt moments and its '50s feel is authentic if a little polished.