Hope Springs (2012)
Remember my American Reunion review? In it, I spoiled the final scene of the film, where Eugene Levy gets a blowjob while watching a flick – a gag that made me gag. After that experience, I assured myself that there HAS to be a way to pull that kind of sequence off with a bit of class.
One way to do it is by casting Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.
Hope Springs tells the story of a married couple in a rut. Meryl wants passion back in her relationship, but Tommy is fine with how things are. In comes Dr. Steve Carell, whose book on marriage inspires Meryl to take Tommy with her to a small town for some counseling. Will the emotional hard ass husband open up?
Alternate synopsis: Meryl Streep attempts to bed Tommy Lee Jones for 90 minutes. Seriously.
Sometimes, it’s ALL about the casting.
A simple story can be made watchable just by the right choice of actor. Meryl Streep, as always, is great. Somehow, she glows in almost every role she takes. I don’t know what her method is, but it’s the key to making this movie work.
Steve Carell is good as well, giving a light hearted effort in a movie he didn’t really need to be in. Actually, it was kind of odd to see him here – normally, he’s an average joe / unassuming guy caught up in goofy scenarios. But, I’m glad he showed up for this.
Sometimes, casting isn’t everything.
A simple story, even with a good cast, is still a simple story. The movie treads on familiar territory, which makes things very predictable. It all follows a formula of something better than the Lifetime Channel, but not quite good enough for a $10 ticket. Yes, Meryl is wonderful – got anything else besides that and generic wedding reception dj music?
Sometimes, casting can hurt.
Tommy Lee Jones is a great actor and all, but man… Sure, he did a fine enough job, but every time he was on screen, I imagined Two Face from Batman Forever and the prison warden from Natural Born Killers. I guess what I’m saying is I had a hard time taking Tommy seriously. This is one of those cases where the problem is on my end, but if you happen to watch this, try seeing his performance through my eyes; it WILL be hard not to imagine him with crap on half his face and a weird hairdo.
I mentioned something earlier about oral sex in a movie theater, right? Well…
>>>>>>>>>>SPOILERS<<<<<<<<<< Meryl Streep tries to give Tommy Lee Jones head during a French film. Now, the scene is played out awkwardly, as the characters really don’t know how to do such a thing, and it’s really quite harmless – thanks in large part to the actors involved. But still, it happened. >>>>>>>>>>END SPOILERS<<<<<<<<<<
Would make for a fine Redbox recommendation for your mother or in laws. *Sigh* I’m watching Expendables 2 later this week. That ought to balance this out.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: when you see Meryl for the first time. Doesn’t she look great?
Take a Drink: because Tommy Lee Jones once played Two Face.
Take a Drink: knowing that an older couple may have had sex in your theater seat.