|Great chemistry is the success of this rom-com.|
Directed by Marc Lawrence
Produced by Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer
Written by Marc Lawrence
Staring Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, J.K. Simmons, Chris Elliott and Alison Janney
Writer/director Marc Lawrence (Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics) has teamed up with Hugh Grant again for similar results. Keith Michaels (Grant), an Oscar-winning screenwriter, is struggling to make ends meet. Despite his conviction that good writing can't be taught, he reluctantly leaves Los Angeles and takes a job teaching a screenwriting class in upstate New York. Obviously, things don't go well when he arrives on campus. He brushes off his class; he offends a female colleague (Janney), who's also head of the ethics committee; and he even has a fling with one of his young students (Heathcote). However, Holly Carpenter (Tomei), a non-traditional student, gets him to read her screenplay submission, and she joins the class. As the two become close over the semester, Keith's outlook starts to change for the better, proving he just might be a good teacher.
This film isn't the most original, nor particularly well-written. Most characters have hints of depth without ever really getting to do more than spout one-liners. That said, the film is sweet and very watchable. In addition, the casting proves most effective in this somewhat generic rom-com. Hugh Grant falls into the lead role with his usual charm and spot-on comedic timing, making an unlikable character just the opposite. On the other hand, Marisa Tomei, in a typically reduced lead role that's really supporting, adds so much nuance and wit to her character. The two share great chemistry, which makes this a pleasant watch. Fresh off an Oscar win, J.K. Simmons is delightful as one of Grant's new colleagues, and Alison Janney gets a few laughs as the Jane Austen-obsessed stickler. While it has every right to be dismissed, The Rewrite is a nice, unobtrusive little rom-com with a cast that makes it fly by without too much fuss.
Oscar Potential: None