Verdict: Again, the foppish Hugh Grant is at the center of it all, this time as a guy who managed to become the Prime Minister of England simply by being charmingly self-deprecating, but still has a tough time meeting ladies. Sound far-fetched? Well, it is, as are many of the eight stories at the center of the film. Just think of
Audit Fact: When Hugh Grant announced last year that he was thinking of taking a break from acting, the British economy spiraled into a Depression.
As Good As It Gets (1996)
In this film, Jack Nicholson thankfully plays himself and Helen Hunt unfortunately plays a supposedly attractive blue-collar waitress trying to care for her sick son. While the movie could have focused on the engaging misanthropic lunacy at the heart of one of Nicholson’s finest characters, it wanders off into the realms of heartstring tugging, cute puppies and “you complete me” pabulum.
Verdict: It’s occasionally enjoyable, but you can almost feel your stomach drop as the film begins veering toward a Hollywood ending mid-way through. It’s probably worth watching for the scene in which Nicholson tells a Jewish couple that they should “shampoo his crotch,” but, at the same time, it’s contemptible for what it squanders.
Audit Fact: Sales of the Brussels Griffin dog breed featured in the film skyrocketed by 90 percent in 1996. Instances of Brussels Griffins being put to sleep, however, increased by 90 percent the following year.
She’s All That (1999)
This formulaic commercial success tells the story of an unlikable asshole who bets his equally unlikable friend that a really hot girl who wears glasses might be hot enough to win prom queen if he convinces her to take off her glasses.
Verdict: She’s All That attempts to update an overdone ’80s formula (Can’t Buy Me Love, et. al) by adding newer cars and getting rid of the leg warmers. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t work. Completely devoid of any new ideas, the only reason to watch the film is so that you can get all of the jokes in the hugely underrated spoof, Not Another Teen Movie.
Audit Fact: The filmmakers knew that they wanted to name the film after an outdated slang term, but had a tough time deciding between She’s All That, and Talk to the Hand, Freddie Prinze Jr.
I Love Trouble (1994)
A pair of zany newspaper reporters (the appallingly matched Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte) gets into zany hi-jinks in this tale of a convoluted conspiracy that might as well be lifted from a Police Academy movie. If you can think of two actors better suited to bring out the laughs, well sir, you’re a better filmmaker than Charles Shyer. Also, you’re a better filmmaker than Charles Shyer.
Verdict: Imagine All the Presidents Men if Woodward and Bernstein were sexually involved: there are fewer laughs in I Love Trouble and the thought of the two main characters having sex is about 100 times more revolting.
Audit Fact: Julia Roberts has a rare sexually transmitted disease that makes everything around her less funny. When she has sex with movie producers in order to convince them to put her in their movies, she passes the disease on to them, which explains why she continues to be put in comedies and why her comedies tend to be devoid of anything resembling a joke.
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