I must admit I was a little unsure what I was getting myself into when I put Desk Set on my 2018 Blind Spot list. I needed a Christmas movie I had yet to see (a tough task when you are dealing with me, the Queen of Christmas movies), but I didn’t enjoy the much heralded Hepburn/Tracy film Adam’s Rib. Despite their chemistry, it just didn’t work for me (been a while since I’ve seen it but that was my experience at the time). Fortunately my experience with Desk Set, was much better, and I thoroughly enjoyed this bubbly Christmas romcom.
Desk Set was the 8th of 9 pairings between Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and it was directed by the great Walter Lang and written by Phoebe and Henry Ephron (parents of my literary hero Nora Ephron!). They built the lead roles with Hepburn and Tracy in mind and you can tell- especially for Hepburn the lines feel like they are almost improv it is so natural.
Heburn plays a woman named Bunny Watson who works as a researcher that answers questions for reporters. She is a very modern woman who has been dating her boyfriend Mike for 7 years and leads an office of 3 other women (Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill and Sue Randell). These women are strong, yet feminine and can definitely hold their liquor. If you made a version of Desk Set today you wouldn’t have to change much of the behavior of the women, which considering this was made in 1957, that is saying something.
Unfortunately, the perfect office is disturbed when Spencer Tracy’s Richard Sumner comes in and announces they are replacing the researchers with 2 EMERAC computers. Richard then works with the women to make the transition to the computers as seamless as possible. Of course, it is fascinating to see the effects of automation and computers on a 1957 workplace when the same issues and workplace dynamics exist today. We just call it google instead of the EMERAC!
Desk Set is not a movie that is going to have you in stitches laughing. It’s more a pleasant workplace comedy starring two Hollywood greats with terrific chemistry. Hepburn’s Bunny can be quite sarcastic and snarky with Tracy’s Richard, especially when she is drunk. She even laughs so hard in one scene she snorts, which I’m sure was unplanned!
It did take me a bit to get into Desk Set (the first act is pretty slow) but once the computer arrives and they have their Christmas party it gets cracking! If you like romantic or workplace comedies you will enjoy it. It doesn’t have the emotional heft of something like The Apartment but it’s a delightful little comedy with a hint of Christmas in it for the holidays.
If you’ve seen Desk Set what did you think? Do you like it better than Adam’s Rib or is there another Hepburn/Tracy pairing you prefer over both of them?
Thanks for joining me in this 3rd year of Blind Spots! I am excited to start a new series for 2019 and if you have any suggestions please let me know! Merry Christmas!
3 years ago I did a youtube video entitled ‘Is the Romantic Comedy Dead?’ and it is still one of the best videos I’ve ever made. It’s basically a video essay where I talk about why the romantic comedy matters and how so many of them get the genre wrong. Well, after 3 years of little else but Hallmark in the genre (which is amazing and I podcast about each week) we finally get a successful romantic comedy in Crazy Rich Asians, and I am thrilled about it! Naturally most people are cheering on the underrepresented Asian community that is featured in the film (and rightfully so!), but I want to take a second and cheer it on for being a great romantic comedy!
Crazy Rich Asians is based on the very funny novel by Kevin Kwan about a girl named Rachel who goes to meet her boyfriend’s family in Singapore. When she arrives she discovers they are super rich and judgmental. This premise doesn’t reinvent the wheel but as I’ve said many times movies don’t need to be original to work. They just need to be executed well and this is. It is funny, romantic and has a nice heart to it. Also the Mother who is the ‘villain’ of the film has motivations that make sense when looked at from her life experience.
A lot of people will tell you romantic comedies like Crazy Rich Asians are too ‘cheesy’ or ‘unrealistic’ and therefore they shouldn’t be taken seriously. I would counter that nearly all film outside of documentaries (and even them sometimes) exist in a heightened reality. Very few films are truly realistic and when they are, with films like Boyhood, they are often decried for their lack of story.
I would contend that romantic comedies in their own unique way can actually be very realistic. Think about the couples in your life? Think about when you’ve heard their love stories? Is it not usually some variation on a meet-cute and then they fall in love and get married? Most human beings fall in love and have their own version of a cheesy love story. At least that is the hope…
And there’s the magic word- hope. Hope is something special romantic comedies (and dramas) can give us. If they are done well, they can give us hope that love is out there. That maybe someday we can find someone who will love us for who we are and despite whatever shenanigans happen he or she will make it work with us. There is a hope that love is real and that good things can happen to good people.
Then why you ask are so many romantic comedies lame? Well, I do think that male critics are often more likely to criticize films with a feminine energy as lacking in value. But the greater problem is when the films themselves loose that sense of positivity and hope. In an attempt to play into opposites attract the bad romantic comedies will often make the characters too mean spirited so we don’t really want them to fall in love or have a happy ending.
The other mistake they make is relying too much on a gimmick and forgetting about writing interesting characters. Going all the way back to The Taming of the Shrew, many romantic comedies have been built around a gimmick such as a bet, contest, or article that must be done etc. This type of premise is very difficult to pull off and requires great writing and engaging characters.
Crazy Rich Asians at its core is a simple movie of a boy introducing his girl to his judgmental family. The reason it works is because it is well written and the characters are likable. It’s not too different from other great romantic comedies like Notting Hill or My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
I hope that Hollywood takes the right lessons from Crazy Rich Asians and in its eventual copycats remembers to give us romantic comedies that are as well done. I’m sure there will be clunkers, but I’m just excited to have a jolt in the romantic comedy genre because I’ve missed it!!
Welcome back romcoms!!! Let’s have some hopeful, romantic, enjoyable movies! Yay!!
(And we won’t have to wait long! I’m so excited for Destination Wedding which comes out in just a few days!)
Also I did this post on my other blog on recent romcoms you might have missed that are worth checking out
Last night I had the chance to see the latest Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty. I walked into the theater having only heard negative reviews but trying to have an open mind as usual. I also had no bias against Amy Schumer as this is the first movie or TV show I’ve seen her in. What was my response? Well, I am happy to say I really enjoyed I Feel Pretty. It is a sweet and consistently funny romantic comedy film that I think critics are being way to harsh on.
The conceit of I Feel Pretty reminded me of a Penny Marshall film from the 90s. In fact, they even show a clip of Marshall’s film BIG, which inspires some of the magic that takes place.
Amy Schumer plays a 30-something woman named Renee who is happy enough with a boring but decent job and a nice group of friends; however, she has settled on not trying for the great life she wants because of massive insecurities she feels about her appearance.
Some have criticized I Feel Pretty and claimed it is ‘fat shaming’ given Amy Schumer is only overweight by Hollywood standards. However, I disagree. The film is not saying that Schumer is fat. They are saying that Renee feels insecure about her entire body. She feels insecure about her skin, hair, clothes, weight everything. In contrast, I Feel Pretty also shows women who are bigger than Schumer who do not struggle as much with body imaging and women slimmer that have their own insecurities, so I found it to be quite accurate to the struggles most women have.
I loved Aidy Bryant (who was also great in The Big Sick) and Busy Phillips as her best friends. They were not as insecure as Renee but still had their own struggles. I also like that they told her the truth when she is too much of a diva on them. They in many ways were the most confident characters of the movie.
There have been many body-switching comedies over the years (a favorite genre of mine) but one thing I liked that I Feel Pretty does differently than most is they never actually body swap. We never see the beautiful woman that Renee is seeing in the mirror. This is an improvement upon films like Shallow Hal where we see Gwyneth Paltrow in the fat suit and then her beautiful self. Seeing Renee feeling confident, empowered and beautiful as just Renee helped convey the message that she was the best version of herself all along.
There are a couple of scenes where Renee is shown as too fat to ride a bike at a gym that are a little over-the-top, but I didn’t care as they worked into the plot quite nicely.
I really liked Rory Scovel as Ethan, the new boyfriend Renee gets because of her confidence. She assumes she is way above him and that’s impresses him. He’s the one who is shy and insecure and a confident Renee teaches him to loosen up. I thought they had pretty good chemistry and were sweet together.
Michelle Williams is practically unrecognizable as a cosmetic heiress who is insecure about her voice and who envies Renee’s speaking abilities and innovative ideas. I’m so used to seeing her as an indie darling that it was fun to see her flex her comedic chops again.
My only criticisms are minor. I kind of wish they hadn’t set the movie in the fashion world because it created a strange dynamic. Renee is confident because she believes she is beautiful but at the same time the very industry she is working for is partly responsible for her lack of confidence in the first place. At the end there is a rousing speech but it would have been more inspiring if it wasn’t also a product pitch for makeup. It’s an odd juxtaposition.
But overall, I thought I Feel Pretty was charming. It made me laugh a lot and the message was very sweet.If I had a teenage daughter I would take her to see this film, and I think we would have a lot of laughs. We would also talk about the importance of confidence and how no matter what we look like we have value to God and this world. It worked for me! I guess you could say I feel pretty 🙂
There is some nudity and sensuality and a little language. PG-13 film.
Anyone who follows this blog knows one of my all time favorite movies is the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail. I love pretty much everything about it especially Nora Ephron’s witty dialogue. It is perhaps my favorite remake ever and one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Recently my friend Christine sat down with me to talk about the film and why we love it and what it has to say about work, life, love and the human experience. It’s a really fun podcast that I think you will all enjoy. Give it a listen 🙂 You can also listen on itunes here.
February is the month of romance, so I thought it would be fun to pick a classic romantic comedy for my blind spot selection. There aren’t many romcoms I haven’t seen but one I hadn’t gotten around to is The Palm Beach Story by director Preston Sturges- the king of the 1940s romantic comedy! Fortunately, it proved to be not only romantic but also somewhat shocking (for the day) in its themes and story.
The first thing to keep in mind with The Palm Beach Story is to watch the opening credits! There is a montage throughout them that comes into play later in the movie. It’s a neat touch that starts things off feeling fresh and inventive.
Claudette Colbert is amazing as Gerry, a woman struggling with a marriage that can’t seem to get above water financially. Her husband Tom (Joel McCrea) has grand ideas but can never make a steady paycheck. Through various contrivances Gerry ends up on a train down to Palm Beach where she hopes to meet a rich man who can be her second husband.
To her great fortune she meets a man named John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) who becomes smitten and insists on showering her with all kinds of clothing and gifts. Of course when Tom hears about this he is furious and goes to Palm Beach to try and stop it.
Things get further complicated when Hackensacker’s sister Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor) becomes interested in Tom (who Gerry says is her brother Captain McGlue!). With so many half truths it gets pretty nutty and even a little surprising. It’s also very easy to see how this film influenced movies like White Christmas and Some Like It Hot in many ways.
As with all of Preston Sturges’ movies the true star is the terrific script. He was so great at crafting frank and honest dialogue spoken from compelling characters. The banter between McCrea and Colbert is snappy and very fast paced but thankfully the actors are up for the task. Colbert is as good here as she is in It Happened One Night, and she has good chemistry with McCrea. They even manage to keep her likable despite her taking advantage of Hackensacker and not being very honest. Not an easy task!
I was impressed with how modern the script was in both tone and candor. Sex, marriage, divorce, infidelity, loneliness and depression are all discussed in ways that must have made the censors blush back then. Sturges even asks the question ‘is marriage necessary or a good thing?’. Of course, the answer is yes but it’s still a bold question for 1942. Later on in Unfaithfully Yours he will explore these themes even more, but I appreciated there was nothing cloying about the relationships in this script.
The only real downside is not all the physical comedy worked for me. All the actors are up for it but I preferred the more dialogue-based humor. Also, I don’t know that I completely buy the ending, but I don’t know that we are supposed to. I think it is meant to be a little bit of a poke at traditional romances with perfect happily ever afters. He even adds an ‘or not’ at the end to reinforce his point.
I definitely recommend checking The Palm Beach Story out if you like classic romances with great dialogue. It’s a wonderful choice for Valentine’s Day and a whole lot of fun! Also, studios should take a look at this film and consider remaking it or paying homage to it. The story and script is definitely still relevant and it would be interesting to see the themes of marriage explored even more so with modern characters.
Guys I feel genuinely sad. While everyone else is bummed out over an underwhelming Batman v Superman this weekend, I’m sad about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. It kind of broke my heart. 😦
I love the original Greek Wedding from 2002. It’s one of my favorite comedies of all time. Why does it work? Because it is focused on one character Toula and her becoming an independent woman and getting married. Along for the ride are her parents and crazy family. The writing is funny and most people with loud obnoxious families can relate to what Toula goes through. I certainly could.
So now all these years later we get a sequel and like most comedy sequels it is a disaster. Whether it be Dumb and Dumber 2, Zoolander 2, Caddyshack 2, most comedy sequels suck.
What did Greek Wedding 2 get wrong? Well…
To begin with it decides to not focus on one person’s story but it splits up the focus on a variety of subplots. We get Toula and her stale marriage, her daughter Paris going to prom, Paris deciding what college to go to, her parents finding out they aren’t actually married, her cousin revealing he is gay, her father wanting to be related to Alexander the Great, her trying to plan her parents wedding etc. The list goes on.
None of these plots are given ample time by the screenplay to grow and be more than a sitcom. It’s like I could practically hear the laugh track in the background behind every situation.
They also take jokes we liked from the first film and run them into the ground. For example, Toula’s Aunt Voula has a great joke in original about a growth on her neck. Here we get 3 jokes about her body including one about having one working ovary. Another example is Toula’s father and his making all words Greek. In the original you get it twice. Here it is repeated over and over again. Same thing with the windex and the awkward sex talk/ sex situations we get at least 3 times. All of these jokes land with a thud.
They even bring back Toula getting taunted by the girls at school over her strange lunch from the first one. I wanted to say ‘let it go!’ Toula had moved on from such nonsense and become a strong woman and it felt petty and kind of judgemental on her part.
As I was watching I got angrier and more irritated. So much so, I almost considered walking out of the theater. It was such a disappointment to these characters I loved in the original.
The other problem is they forget that the crazy family antics were relatively spaced out in the original. A ton of time is spent on Toula, her and Ian’s relationship, their courtship and nice quiet moments between Toula and her brother, mother/family etc. The craziness made you laugh because it felt believable within the context of a wedding or big family event. Weddings are nuts for big families. That’s believable.
Here it is so overdone. For example, Paris has a college career fair at school and the entire family- cousins, aunts, uncles, all come. This becomes annoying instead of funny because it no longer feels like a heightened version of reality. I mean there are a lot of grandkids in that family and if everyone comes to every college fair/minor activity than they must not get much done. It is believable for a wedding or big event, not every day life.
The other disappointment in the film is Nia Vardalos’ acting She’s wooden for much of her line delivery and her and John Corbett seem to have lost the chemistry that made them so great in the original. Her responses are either bland or way over the top. It’s one extreme or the other. There is a scene for instance when she out of nowhere unleashes at her neighbors who are watching the commotion next door. It frankly felt bizarre.
Other elements don’t work like the wedding being stopped because Toula’s father is tipsy at the alter. You just feel sad for Lainie Kazan’s Mother character and I think the movie wants us to laugh. Either way we haven’t spent enough time with her character to be emotionally invested in the situation. It just ends up feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
Another example is they are setting up for a wedding and out of nowhere a man tells the Joey Fatone character something like ‘well, at least he isn’t hiding any more’ and it turns out they are partners. There’s nothing wrong with that storyline in the film but it is literally shoehorned into a cleaning scene and then quickly dispensed of- leaving no laughter or emotion for the audience.
It’s like they thought they had to give everyone in the family (even the Grandma gets a storyline) a subplot so they all leave us under-served and frustrated.
But most importantly they didn’t make me laugh. Family hijinx aren’t in and of themselves funny. It has to be balanced amid people we care about or it is just annoying and that is the case here.
Lainie Kazan does her darndest to squeeze some emotion out of her desire to be proposed to by her husband but again the movie doesn’t focus on her enough leaving me unmoved in the end.
Some people on my facebook liked the film and that’s cool but it really bummed me out. I know technically speaking Norm of the North and The Choice are more poorly made movies but as far as disappointing me My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the worst movie I’ve seen in 2016.
At the very least it begs the question- YOU HAD 1 JOB AND THIS WAS THE BEST YOU COULD DO AFTER 15 YEARS!!!! Darn it all…
The Intern should have been a movie I loved. As most of you know I love romantic comedies. There aren’t very many made these days and I miss them. The Intern isn’t really a romantic comedy but more of a friendship comedy but it has the lightness of the genre. It is also a movie about work which is another favorite topic of mine in the movies. (I think the movie may be getting more praise than it deserves because so few movies like this are made more than how great it actually is…)
Unfortunately, I ended up with really mixed feelings on this one. I explain why in my video review where I give a spoiler warning to give you time to stop watching if you want too.
There are things I liked in The Intern. Robert Deniro and Anne Hathaway are really charming in their roles.
Anne Hathaway’s Jules (a very romcomy name) felt to me like what Devil Wears Prada Andy might be doing at that phase of her life. She has a daughter and her husband is a stay-at-home Dad. She runs an internet startup company that is new and hip and overwhelming her life.
They decide to hire senior interns and Robert Deniro is bored with his life much like the guys in Walk in the Woods. So, he decides to apply and gets the job. Showing up in a suit and tie and carrying a handkerchief for all girl crying moments (seriously) he charms his way into the hearts of the entire office.
He really charms the audience too. He’s so likable and fun and it makes you wish you could hire a senior intern to help you and give you counsel whenever you need it…
However, that is also a weakness of the film. He really becomes kind of a senior citizen superhero. I’m all for having characters in movies that are good people but why not have one piece of advice he gives actually not apply to the new workplace? Wouldn’t that have been an interesting dynamic for both characters to absorb and learn from?
I really liked the scenes with him and the other young men in the office but I also thought they could be a bit patronizing. Are young men really so stupid they need to be told to not show up for a new job in your pajamas?
But they do work and I was charmed by them and I did laugh. Where the movie really had problems for me was in the conflict and resolution in Jules’ personal life and with her marriage. It is very spoilery but I go into it in a spoiler section in the video if you want to know. Basically I didn’t buy the way it was all resolved. I didn’t think it made sense for either character (both professionally and personally) and it was kind of a deal break for me on the film.
So I like things about it but I think it could have been much better.
April is just my month for liking movies that other people don’t like or that at least aren’t championed by many. That said movies like Jupiter Ascending and Longest Ride I enjoyed for what they were but didn’t love them. Now let me get behind a movie I really love that nobody saw called The Rewrite. It is exactly the kind of movie I LOVE.
Nora Ephron is my literary muse. I love her writing. The little moments of commentary about books, movies, Starbucks, New York, whatever it is. I love how funny her scripts are and yet her characters feel real and have moments of depth and compassion rarely captured in a light comedy. I mention Ephron because The Rewrite was as close to a Nora Ephron movie I have seen since her passing in 2012.
Since 2012 very few romantic comedies have even been made let alone good one’s and for a huge fan of the genre it has been very sad. I miss going to the movies to feel good and be with people that I liked and who made me laugh. I sincerely miss it, so that is part of the reason The Rewrite made me so excited.
It is perhaps appropriate a return to the romcom would star the key of the genre, Hugh Grant. In The Rewrite he plays Keith Michaels an Oscar winning screenwriter who has fallen on hard times after the luster of his youthful career has faded (and his wife leaves him for the director of his big hit…). He doesn’t have a relationship with his son, has no creative energy, can’t get a script sold and is even considering a sequel to his Oscar winning film- something he said he would never do.
His agent played by Caroline Aaron convinces him to go and teach in a small town called Binghampton and having little else to do he agrees. Naturally he starts out feeling that teaching is beneath him and he dismisses class rationalizing that ‘talent can’t be taught so why waste everyone’s time’.
The cast is uniformly excellent with Marisa Tomei, JK Simmons, Allison Janney, Chris Elliott, Bella Heathcote and more.
I particularly loved Janney who is an English professor who loves Jane Austen and has some very funny dialogue with Grant on that topic and many others. It is especially funny because Hugh Grant was in a Jane Austen movie (Sense and Sensibility) so there are more than one winks to the audience in the script.
Simmons and Elliott are a lot of fun as fellow teachers. Simmons is in love with his family. He cries every time he mentions them. Elliott is Grant’s neighbor and he has a lot of funny observations of those around him.
I loved the students and even though they are tropes they are well written tropes. There’s the feminist girl, nerd, slut etc but they are funny and the scripts they are writing have a lot of good jokes that made me laugh (like the Bar Mitzvah gone wrong crossed with Dirty Dancing…).
Tomei is lovely as an older student in Grant’s class who is writing a script based on her life as a single Mom. They have terrific chemistry which is essential in this type of movie.
I have mostly male readers of this blog for some reason so I am sure most of you will probably discount this as a ‘chick flick’ and if you do that’s a shame. It has so many funny lines about work, entertainment, pop culture, movies, writing, education etc. It really reminded me of a Nora Ephron script and maybe even a lighter Woody Allen like Midnight in Paris.
All I know is this is exactly the kind of movie I love. You might say it is the Rachel hat trick- funny, romantic, with a nice heart to it. If you are a writer or love movies I think you will particularly enjoy it. Have an open mind and give it a shot. If any of you do see it let me know what you think.
As far as content there is a little language and talk of an affair with a student although nothing is shown.
“I am excited that with Tangled a whole new generation will have a Disney princess experience. I hope Disney keeps up the good work and doesn’t rely only on the brilliance of Pixar.”
That was my thoughts back in 2010 when I saw Tangled. I loved it then, and I love it now. Even though it won’t be my #1 movie, I have to admit if I made a movie, Tangled is the type of film I would like to make.
As Disney’s first attempt to make a romantic comedy (which I love. see my defense here), I love everything about it. It gets the opposites attract, romantic banter, witty dialogue, action, and terrific characters of a Princess Bride but then it adds beautiful music, tons of humor, gorgeous animation, and one of the great Disney villains. I watched it again tonight but I really didn’t need to because I pull it out every couple of months and give it a watch. It’s the best!
There are a lot of reasons Tangled works so well and a lot of that has to go down to choices they made in production. Remember how I said every choice they made in Brother Bear drove me crazy? This is the exact opposite.
For starters, they went traditional fairytale, updated it a little but not as much as Princess and the Frog. Most of the updates they chose had to do with making the film appeal more to boys instead of traditional Princess movies, and each of these choices makes it a stronger romantic comedy.
For example, Flynn narrates the film which means we get to see a lot of his character, making the romantic comedy tension all the more palpable and satisfying. I can totally see Flynn being played by romantic comedy greats like a Cary Grant, Matthew Mcconaughey, Harrison Ford or even Chris Pratt in Guardians- all suave and debonair but really good at heart. Classic and tough to pull off (Mcconaughey failed many times!)
We also get ruffians and thugs which appeal to both girls and boys and they are fabulous.
They were so smart in the script also because Rapunzel is so likable. She does her best to be optimistic and hopeful while basically being a terrified prisoner. That is very likable person. In some ways she is like Cinderella in that way. She is also the ultimate homeschooler- self educated in every way 😉
And the villain, Mother Gothel, is one of Disney’s best. Here Disney had the guts to make a mother evil, and not only that but she uses the very ‘maternal’ nature of mothering to manipulate her daughter. If you really think about it it’s kind of twisted- brilliantly twisted!!
I don’t have any proof this but I wonder if they used Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods as inspiration particularly for Mother Gothel.
In the play Gothel (or the Witch) is even more manipulative and sings a song called Stay with Me to make sure Rapunzel knows how devastated she will be if she is left alone. Another song is called The Witches Lament and I think you will see similarities between it and Mother Knows Best:
In the Sondheim version she is even kind of bitter with Rapunzel for not appreciating all she did for her. A true sociopath. You get pieces of that in Mother Gothel with wicked humor I love!
The other thing about Mother Knows Best which makes it amazing is it is just 2 characters on a black background for most of the song and yet I am totally engrossed. That’s impressive!
The music was written by the great Alan Menken so no reason to assume he couldn’t have used Sondheim as an inspiration. Lyrics are by Glenn Slater who also has a broadway background.
The rest of the songs feel more like The Lion King or Tarzan with a pop vibe but I really love them.
The fact Tangled wasn’t even nominated for Best Animated Film shows what a joke the Oscars really are. I get why Toy Story 3 would win, and I love How to Train Your Dragon but they only nominated 3 films that year and they didn’t have room for Tangled? The previous year they nominated 5!
The voice cast is all great with Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman, and Jeffrey Tambor.
I thought I would try something different for this review. I found this video- the story of Tangled in 60 seconds and it basically does just that!
Let’s go over a few of the songs.
After our introduction to the story by Flynn, we meet Rapunzel with When Will My Life Begin and it does what Menken and Ashman used to do- like the song Belle in Beauty and the Beast it introduces a ton of narrative within the song, while creating an incredibly appealing lead character. As an audience we feel connected to Rapunzel quickly.
Next is Mother’s Knows Best which I talked about before. Flynn arrives and needs to make a deal with Rapunzel to get his satchel of a stolen crown back (classic romantic comedy plot device a bargain, deal, bet, swap gimmick to get story going and force leads to be together).
We also get introduced to Maximus, the rigid Kings guard horse, who is hilarious in his dogged behaviors and determination.
Romantic comedies always have engaging side characters and for a story about a thief and a girl in a tower I think they came up with a lot of them and unlike Princess and the Frog they don’t make the movie feel cluttered but are included just enough.
Some of those side characters are the roughians and thugs which brings us our next great song I Had a Dream. Perfection!
Eventually they break free and end up almost drowning, Flynn finds out about her hair and they finally make it to the lights.
This scene with the lanterns is one of the best in all of Disney and in 3D it was breathtaking (I saw it twice in 3D and I have a lazy eye so I usually hate 3D!)
We then get a terrific final act with Mother Gothel continuing to manipulate Rapunzel. This Mother Knows Best Reprise is so chilling and well sung by Donna Murphy.
The ending is so well done and just like a good romantic comedy should we want things to work out so badly for Flynn and Rapunzel but it seems hopeless until the bitter end. Flynn and Rapunzel understand each other better than any other Disney couple and I have more confidence in their marriage being a success. It’s one of the great Disney couples.
I really have little criticism for this film. As I’ve made abundantly clear in this review I love all the choices they made. I love the romantic comedy storytelling. I love Flynn and Rapunzel. I love the side characters and I LOVE the villain.
The music is great, animation stunning especially the lanterns, the humor all works. I guess if I was going to nitpick I’d say the eyes could have been a little smaller. That’s it.
For me it is a quick top 10 favorite and probably the Disney I could and do rewatch the most frequently. I love it!
Overall Grade- A+
Oh and Disney is coming out with Into the Woods at Christmas I believe . Yippee!!