Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chasing Amy [1997]

Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Rating: Adult (overt theme of sexuality)
Comment: "Probably the quirkiest love story I've seen so far..."

Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) are long-time friends and also happen to be successful comic book artists, who pretty much live the dream of many in their field. They spend their days working and nights just hanging out. Their friendship gets strained for the first time when Holden falls for a girl named Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), a lesbian.

What to Expect
1. Not your typical romantic comedy
2. A bunch of dick jokes
3. Lengthy dialogues about sexuality
4. Some anti-gay slurs
5. Pretty realistic too

What NOT to Expect
1. Predictable plot progression
2. Over-the-top romantic gestures

If you haven't seen Kevin Smith's debut Clerks [1994], then you might want to check that one out first. Not because this movie is a sequel or anything of the sort. It's just that, while this movie is different in terms of subject matter, theme and tone, it still retained many of the hallmarks that are unmistakably Kevin Smith; observational humour and a bunch of dick jokes. Simply put, this is a love-it-or-hate-it type of a movie.

I don't hate Ben Affleck, although I do tend to look the other way whenever he is leading man of a movie. I don't quite know why. I mean, the dude can act... But I guess it's because he loves getting his name in tabloid journalism, which is something I find to be rather off-putting for someone who wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Well, surprisingly, I was able to look past all that because he did a pretty good job this time around. Thanks to, in no small part, the interesting story that Kevin Smith wrote for him.

Speaking of story, this is not your usual Romantic comedy. While it embraced other tropes of the genre, (such as boy-meets-girl, love at first sight, the love interest's tragic past and whatnot) they played out well and they had that tinge of realism about them, making it that much more believable that this is one of those love stories that could actually happen to someone.

At the heart of this movie, it's really about comedy. A comedy written by a guy who had his break by making dick jokes and putting cultural references into a new light. So if you're into all that, you might actually like this movie. Just ignore Ben Affleck's douchey-looking goatee if you can.

Should you see it?
I liked it. I think it was an interesting take on the genre, and it kind of stands out too once you consider that there aren't that many Romantic comedies of this sort. It didn't rely on romantic gestures or over-the-top proclamations about love to let you know that this is a love story. So if you're looking for something out of the ordinary, this might make for a good one to watch on a lazy day.

I just hope you have a good attention span because it relies mostly on the dialogue to move its plot forward.

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