Monday, January 30, 2006

Scarlett-as-Woody

Reminiscent of the time we saw Ghost World, Katherine and I were somewhat underwhelmed by the latest of Scarlett Johannssen's cinematic wonders: Match Point.

Unlike the very similar Closer, which at least livened up an otherwise dull-serious "grown-up" drama of Americans and Brits in London with "natalie portman g-string" and "clive owen shirtless" (hello, new Google-searching readers), Match Point provided a mere few seconds of "jonathan rhys meyers boxer-briefs" and a whole lot of "scarlett johanssen seven jeans." If a movie's going to be shallow and with gorgeous actors, why not a bit more boxer-brief time with our charming protagonist? I'm just saying.

As everyone always points out, with Woody Allen movies, the "porn" is of the real-estate variety--those views! those spaces! Even the examples of where one lives when down-and-out are, of course, drool-worthy, which fits quite well with the complete implausibility of either the Jonathan Rhys Meyers character ("Chris") or the Scarlett Johannssen character ("Nola") having been brought up poor. The difference between rich and poor is defined in this film as the difference between having a car and driver and taking taxis. While this does, in fact, divide the super-rich and the merely well-off in NYC and possibly in London as well, the idea that someone would fear losing the lifestyle to which he'd grown accustomed, when all it would mean is a switch back to cabs and to a charming flat rather than a charming flat with a better view and one driver rather than many... but maybe this is the point. Chris chooses real estate over sex. He'd rather a view of London than of Nola's really quite extraordinary body. As beautiful as the actors are in this film, I also couldn't help but notice an agnes b. store in the background, or the fact that Nola's day job was at the boutique Paul and Joe (site has music). Or, as has been pointed out elsewhere but I cannot remember where, the fact that both of the main female characters wear Seven jeans. It's nihilism through materialism, but without the humor that could--in theory, given Allen's alleged involvement--make it palatable.

To be fair, two things about the movie qualify as funny:

Early on in the film, Nola is approached by Chris, who asks her if anyone's ever told her that she has "sensual lips." This amused me tremendously, so after the movie I asked Katherine at least twice if anyone had ever told her she has sensual lips. A silly line, all the sillier because we have not yet been introduced to Nola the character, so basically it's an announcement that Scarlett Johanssen has sensual lips. Which is sort of like saying Jonathan Rhys Meyers should have spent more of the movie in boxer-briefs: indisputable.

The second thing I got a kick out of was that the "Woody Allen" character, far from being absent as A.O. Scott claims, was there in full force and, hint hint, full lips. The neurotic, the loser with absurdly bad luck, the only character whose physical movements at all resemble slapstick, is Nola. By putting a beautiful man in the role of golddigger and a beautiful woman in the role of nebbish, Allen has, at least in a very limited way, shaken things up.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Woody would leave his asian step-daughter/wife? in a second for scarlett.

Phoebe said...

Dunno, she's halachically Jewish. That could be a turn-off.

Nick said...

you don't think it's possible that maybe he really did just not write himself into the film? give the man a little credit...