Heckerling's Industry Heckling Romance
It's quite surprising that "I Could Never Be Your Woman" ended up as a straight to DVD movie rather than getting the theatrical release it deserves. With a pedigree which includes director Amy Heckerling and starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd in leading roles as well as boasting Jon Lovitz, Fred Willard and Tracey Ullman in supporting performances it is quite strange that although original penned for a theatrical release it never got one. Of course a good pedigree doesn't mean a good movie but in the case of "I Could Never Be Your Woman" it certainly is and although some minor flaws is quirkily entertaining.
Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer - One Fine Day) a successful forty something single mother and producer on popular teen drama "You Go Girl" refuses to accept that being over 40 means that life has passed her by and instead stays young through her relationship with her teenage daughter Izzie (Saoirse Ronan - The Lovely Bones). But when Adam (Paul Rudd - Night at the Museum), a talented young actor, walks into her life Rosie seems to have found her perfect man except that he's still in his twenties.
Honestly, I took an instant dislike to "I Could Never Be Your Woman", strange words seeing that by the end I really enjoyed it, but the intro to the movie put me off straight away. With Mother Nature, marvellously played by Tracey Ullman, berating us on how humans have caused their own downfall followed by a rather disturbing credit sequence all about cosmetic surgery, I had fears that this was going to be as ill conceived as "Breast Men", whilst lecturing us on the downside of going plastic. Thankfully the movie quickly moves on from all this unnecessary weirdness, although the fictitious Mother Nature does keep cropping up, and gets on with the main storylines. And this is where "I Could Never Be Your Woman" picks up pace and becomes truly entertaining with a sense of sarcasm not usually seen in these sorts of movies.
Quite strangely the underlying storyline, behind all the made up teen soap antics and angst about age difference, is fundamentally a formulaic boy meets girl; they split up, and then get back together romance. But director Amy Heckerling makes it feel different and not just another mundane walk through several stereotypical scenes. In many ways this feels like Heckerling is taking a swipe at an industry which champions fake ness and youth whilst disregarding naturalness and maturity. With her witty screenplay there is rarely a scene where she doesn't make some witty comment about the industry, be it the spray on six packs given to the young starlets, the yo-yo dieting or that the discrimination when it comes the teen soap "You, Go Girl" which gets unfairly victimized for innuendo. All of which sounds like this could be a movie about a personal vendetta. But it's not as Heckerling cleverly incorporates her witty barbs into a well thought out movie making it a fun romantic comedy with an edge of sarcasm.
As well as the main romance between Rosie and Adam there is also the parallel storyline about Rosie's daughter Izzie's emergence as a teenager. Again Heckerling turns this on its head and avoids a lot of the obvious as well as also using it as a vehicle for more witty swipes at not just the movie industry but pop culture in general. With Izzie's ability to take a popular song and change the lyrics to something more candid makes for plenty of hilarity as swipes are taken at Britney Spears as well as generally as she changes Alanis Morrissette's famous lyrics into "And isn't moronic, don't you think?". There is plenty of growing pains as well as Izzie has to deal with a teenage crush and also getting her first period, which is not so much growing pains but bloomin' cringe worthy for any male watching the very open scene about becoming a woman.
Whilst for the most "I Could Never Be Your Woman" is very clever and witty there are various elements which fail to work. Most notably of these is Mother Nature, the character which appears to be a figment of Rosie's mind yet interjects far too often as a real character. It may add something to the commentary about growing old graciously but feels out of place and detracts from the scenes rather than adding to them. Plus with an ending which decides to focus on Izzie rather than Rosie and Adam it feels slightly rushed as if the adult romance didn't really matter that much. But these are small criticisms of a fun movie.
Performance wise well Michelle Pfeiffer not only looks as amazing as ever but also demonstrates how talented she really is when it comes to satire. In many ways the role of Rosie could have been written with Pfeiffer in mind as at the age of nearly 50 she shows that age doesn't mean you become less important. Accompanying Pfeiffer is Paul Rudd who playing the younger love interest bounds around the screen with both enthusiasm and energy. But it is the pairing of Pfeiffer and Rudd which really works and are totally believable as a couple in love and spark off each other in all their humorous scenes together.
Alongside Pfeiffer and Rudd there is the young Saoirse Ronan as the sparky Izzie as well as the hilarious Jon Lovitz as Rosie's ex Nathan who interjects at various points and displays those characteristics of someone trying to cling onto what is left of their youth. But it is also the smaller performances from the likes of Fred Willard, Henry Winkler and a strong British contingent including the likes of Tracey Ullman, Jonathan Ryland, Sarah Alexander, Mackenzie Crook, David Mitchell, Graham Norton - yes Graham Norton who plays a camp stylist for the teen show.
What this all means is that "I Could Never Be Your Woman" is a much better movie than I thought it was going to be and once you get passed all the nonsense at the start it turns out to be both a fun romantic comedy and also a witty swipe at the industry. It certainly deserved a theatrical release and although it maybe a little too quirky for some is thoroughly entertaining.
Tags: Age Gap Romances