When Alex gets in deep with the mob over gambling debt he hires a stenographer, Emma, to help him write his next novel in 30 days. After a tough start, Alex finds inspiration (and maybe more?) in Emma. Can he finish the book (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in Alex & Emma.
How?! There isn’t much more to the plot than what I just laid out. Alex is in debt and needs to write a book. Emma is a freelance stenographer he hires. While he dictates to her we get a story within a story about an Alex-type-character who finds love with an Emma-type-character, but there is another women in the middle of it all. In the end they finish the book, but the real life other woman shows and everything is thrown into flux… for like five seconds and then Alex sets up a grand gesture to get her back and “fix” the end of his book… by which I mean he rewrote it so it was cliched garbage. Wow, that’s the shortest plot recap I’ve ever written… probably because the story within the story is largely useless and represents what would almost certainly be a terrible book. THE END.
Why?! Alex needs that green to get the mob off his back. Apparently he got a big advance on his next book but when his lady love left him he gambled it all away (and more) in a fit of depression and heartbreak. Nothing like the threat of death to snap him out of it and get him moving on the book. Emma is just a lonely freelance stenographer. That’s pretty much the long and the short of it.
What?! You would think a film about writing a novel wouldn’t give much product placement to speak of. You would be wrong. Alex macks on Captain Crunch constantly and when his mouth gets shredded by those patented razor sharp edges, he grabs a dasani and slams it down. Gotta keep hydrated when you’re spinning hilarious gold.
Who?! While this was an Alan Griesman production for the purposes of this cycle I did want to highlight that Elie Samaha was also a producer on this film… and Battlefield Earth… and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever… and Texas Rangers. He was also the one convicted of defrauding investors regarding Battlefield Earth. Wonder if he’s turned his life around… nope.
Where?! The real life half of the film pretty obviously takes place in Boston, while the fake part of the film takes place on a fictional French-speaking island off the coast of Maine called St. Charles. That’s a double whammy of specificity. B+.
When?! I mostly don’t care, but we do know that the story within a story takes place in the summer of 1924. Since the entire story mirrors Alex’s life, we can presume that our current story takes place in the Fall (after the summer in which he falls in love and then loses everything). But that’s pretty vague. Maybe a C- just for the specific year in the past, but more likely a D+.
I found this entire film embarrassing for everyone involved. It is straight up terrible. I’m actually surprised it ever got an 11% on RT. I don’t really blame Luke Wilson (he was meh) and Kate Hudson (just being her charming self) because it is one of the worst scripts we’ve gotten to watch in quite a while. So they had very little to work with. It’s just a terrible movie about a terrible book being written. And not in a good way. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Recently I’ve been dictating my first novel to Caryn (she doesn’t love the arrangement) and I have to say … it sounds like complete garbage. According to Alex & Emma though that means it will ultimately be excellent, no problem. See you guys on the New York Times bestsellers list! It is called Dodger: A Garbage Pail Kids Prequel, and I think it might be the next great American novel. Let’s get into Alex & Emma!
The Good – I think Kate Hudson is hilarious and adorable. Fool’s Gold, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, etc. They all kind of work for romantic comedies for me because of her. The novel within a movie concept is intriguing enough with the changing characters that you can understand the misguided attempt at this film as well.
P’s View on the Preview – This movie has an absurdly low Rotten Tomatoes score, nearly in the single digits. So, doing a bit of analysis, the percentage of “wide release” romantic comedies (for the sake of simplicity I just defined this as the top 300 films on this chart) that qualify for BMT is an astounding 44% (this is indeed much higher than average, the percentage of films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% in general is about 25% in my experience). The percentage which have a Rotten Tomatoes score at or below Alex and Emma is around 10%. So this a 90th percentile Romantic Comedy as far as bad reviews go. That’s impressive for a genre which such bad movie cred as Romantic Comedies. BTW, there are 29 Romantic Comedies with worse Rotten Tomatoes scores of which 12 have more than 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve seen eight of those for BMT, the other four being: Serving Sara, The Perfect Man, My Life in Ruins, and The Wedding Date.
The Bad – Sorry Luke Wilson, I’m putting you on blast. He’s just not good in this film. He’s not smarmy enough to fit the role they wanted him for (a gambling addict whose life is in danger because of a series of poor decisions), and the chemistry with Hudson isn’t really there, you don’t buy he’s actually in love with her. The entire thing is just kind of … not interesting in the least. I’ll have to save the main criticism for the rant though.
Get Yo Rant On – The book he is narrating is just awful. Just terrible. It sounds like a mess. He’s changing things in the middle. It is cliche. It sounds boring. And as the entire conceit of the film that is extremely problematic. The film is an embarrassment in that regard. Of all the films that needs a great script to be anything but awful, this might just be it. You have the main character narrating a book that is written in the vein of American classics, but it sounds like garbage. You have Rob Reiner sitting there at the end with a straight face saying “this is incredible” and as a viewer who just heard him write the entire thing you can’t help but think “you’re wrong, you have awful taste, this must be some sick condemnation of American literature.” Rant over.
Welcome to Earf – I forgot to do these recently, but this is, luckily, an easy one. Luke Wilson was in Around the World In Eighty Days with his brother Owen Wilson (they played the Wright brothers), who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf.
The BMT – Nope, this is a completely pointless movie that I will forget in a day. Just throw this in the pile will less entertaining rom coms I guess. Like … a shade below the interest Made of Honor generated (at least there the second half had the destination wedding / weird competition for the bride combo to sustain my interest).
StreetCreditReport.com – As far as street cred goes it does make a few lists. This blog here for example. It doesn’t get much recognition elsewhere, no Razzie Award nomination (although it did get nominated for a late Stinkers Award for whatever that is worth i.e. nothing).
No homework as has been usual recently.