Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Movie Review - Green Card

Imagine a meeting of two souls on their wedding day. Hearts are a-flutter, love is in the air, and all that good stuff.

Then imagine two souls meeting on their wedding day. Love is the last thing on their mind. A marriage of convenience – a green card for one, a greenhouse for the other. The marry, they shake hands, they part, never to see one another again. That's the sort of marriage that Environmentalist Bronte (Andie McDowell - Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Musician George (Gerard Depardieu - Cyrano de Bergerac) have at the beginning of this movie – but of course, since it's a romantic comedy, they do meet again. Not in romantic circumstances, mind you – they have to be together for a while when the immigration officials begin to get suspicious. (BTW if like me you're not from the States, a "Green Card" is pretty much the equivalent of a work permit. There may be more to it than that - I'm sure someone will put it in the comments if there is! - but that's all you really need to know.)

Directed, produced, and written by Peter Wier (Dead Poets Society, Witness), Green Card is an enjoyable romantic comedy based on the above scenario, a clash of cultures and personalities, and the ensuing chaos that ensues. Depardieu shows all the Garlic (sic) charm that you'd expect, and McDowell does well with a role that effectively requires you to like and dislike her at the same time. The romance is kept in the background for most of the movie, relying on a number of scenes that could be interpreted as them falling in love, but might just mean something else entirely. This works quite well and ties in nicely with the bittersweet ending – not that I'm going to tell you what happens!

It strays from the conventional romantic comedy format somewhat in that, instead of having two lovers that are kept apart for most of the movie, it takes two people that don't love each other and throws them together. There are a few laugh out loud scenes and a number of amusing moments. It's not quite as funny as it could be though. Bronte's parents are confusingly underused – they seem to have been shoved into a couple of scenes just for the sake of it. Of the other characters, Bronte's vampish friend, is the most notable, but again her interest in George is left totally undeveloped. The reason for these failings is almost definitely simply down to keeping the film at a reasonable length, but it could have been an even better film if these characters had been given a bit more development.

(It should be noted that in the romantic comedy genre, I view the comedy element as being the most important. I just mention it so that you know how much you're likely to agree with me!!)

There's nothing wrong with the technical aspects of the film, and the cinematography shows a certain flair in places. The African-inspired music score by Hans Zimmer is unusual and very suited to the film. (Oh yeah, and it's good, too…)

Overall, Green Card is a very enjoyable romantic comedy with an appealing lead pairing, a slightly more adventurous plot than your average romantic comedy, and a good few laughs thrown in for good measure. I don't view it as a classic but it will certainly be well received by fans of the genre. Fans of Depardieu or McDowell will, I suspect, be delighted with this film.

There's very little objectionable content in this film but a couple of F words (literally two in the whole film) give it a 15 (not suitable for anyone under the age of 15) rating in the UK. It's a shame they felt the need to include these as it would have been a nice family film otherwise.

As culture clash romantic comedies go, I actually prefer My Big Fat Greek Wedding to this. Another with a French connection is French Kiss.

My other top choices in the Romantic Comedy genre can be found HERE.

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