Review

Meet Bill Review

By:
May 09, 2008 | 4:41am EDT

Bill (Aaron Eckhart) is one of those guys who may have had potential at one point in his life but somewhere along the way decided it just wasn’t worth it. His marriage is a bit of a sham and he recently videotaped his wife (Elizabeth Banks) having sex with a local news anchor (Timothy Olyphant). He’s got a true addiction to anything sweet and chocolate causing his stomach to lead whenever he walks. AND he’s stuck in a dead-end bank job working for his father-in-law. Suddenly his life takes a turn for the better when he decides to get a Donut store franchise and starts mentoring a quirkily confident young student he calls The Kid (Logan Lerman) who turns the tables on Bill and mentors him instead in the fine art of learning how to live again. The Kid's efforts lead to a lingerie sales girl (Jessica Alba) who he engages in a plan to reawaken Bill’s zest for fun sex and renewed self-confidence. In Thank You For Smoking and No Reservations Aaron Eckhart proved he had undiscovered potential for comedy which is reinforced by his charmingly self-deprecating performance here as a man who just let it all go and is trying to reel himself back in. Even though the script lets him down often  Eckhart effortlessly rises above some mediocre material to create a three dimensional portrait of a man drowning in his own frustration. The fact that he allows the camera to photograph his body in such an unflattering light shows he’s a star who doesn’t let ego get in the way of some good laughs. Sixteen-year-old Logan Lerman --so good as Christian Bale’s son in 3:10 To Yuma--also displays a supreme confidence which he NEEDS since he’s asked to play a dude who enjoys wearing ladies underwear and lingeree AND has to model them in front of Jessica Alba(!) Yikes. His scenes with Eckhart are terrific though. Alba and Banks don’t make much of an impression ironic since the film was written and co-directed by a woman. Perhaps screenwriter Melisa Wallack’s script was much better on the page than the screen but if so she has only herself (and co-director Bernie Goldman) to blame as she is also the one behind the camera making her writing and directing debut with this unfortunate comic misfire. Unfortunate because it had true potential to be an intriguing light-hearted character study of a guy searching for his soul and in Eckhart definitely had the right actor to play him. Sadly for every good scene (and there are a few) the movie falls right back on obvious jokes and way too broad and unbelievable sitcom level shenanigans. Also its hard to understand how Bill would even care to get back with his wife after all the humiliating things she says and does to him. Their relationship is never established in any credible way so the thrust of the story never takes off. It’s understandable then why despite a cast with marquee names distributor First Look is dumping this into a few theatres on its way straight to DVD in July.

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