Martha is a successful woman who is feeling a lot of pressure to find a husband. Doesn’t help that she’s also lonely. So when she happens to meet a successful, handsome, lonely guy in a bar on Valentine’s Day it all seems too good to be true. And it is, cause he’s def Mr. Wrong. Can she get out of his clutches before it’s too late? Find out in… Mr. Wrong.
How?! Martha runs a big time morning show in San Diego and everyone is making a big deal that she’s single. Not to mention that the only guy giving her any attention anyway is an early twenties assistant at the show, Walter. So when Valentine’s Day rolls around she finds herself lonely in a bar and woah, hold on a sec, a handsome guy happens to pick the same song she was going to pick on the jukebox? And this dude Whitman’s a poet/financial whiz?! They soon embark on a torrid love affair where everyone in Martha’s life is charmed by Whitman and Martha gets increasingly suspicious. First his poetry seems… not great. Also, there is a wildly crazy ex-gf harassing her. One day, when his weird interactions with people get to be too much, she tells him that he should really just be himself around her. Freed by this revolutionary idea Whitman instantly becomes his true self: a total maniac. He is stealing stuff and throwing garbage at homeless people and reveals that in fact his world revolves around his crazy rich mother. It is a total nightmare and yet everyone around her is kinda like “come on, it’s fine, you could do worse.” After hiring a private eye, who reveals loads more terrible things about him, Martha tasks him with getting rid of Whitman. But alas, Whitman is able to charm the PI who tries to take Martha back to Whitman. She flees and is hit by a van. In the hospital she wakes up to find that Whitman put a ring on her finger and claimed they are engaged. She flees again, but is kidnapped by the crazy ex-gf. Whitman rescues her from them only to kidnap Martha all over again, drug her, and drive her to Mexico for her wedding. Martha is able to get word to Walter for help and in a crazy climax Whitman is shot as Martha attempts to flee her own wedding. It is thought that Martha shot Whitman (she didn’t, the crazy ex-gf did) but Walter rescues her and they ride off into the sunset. THE END.
Why?! Love… kinda. I mean Martha wants to find love. She rightly thinks that she is a successful woman who shouldn’t settle just because her family and friends think she’s getting old. But she obviously also wants to be loved. So those two pressures unfortunately push her into Whitman’s arms. Whitman is crazy and everyone else in the film is dumb. That’s about it.
Who?! This has a whole bunch of interesting people in it. There are a few cameos of celebs appearing on the fake show that Ellen works on (e.g. Louie Anderson and Casey Kasem). A minor side character, Bob, is played by Brad William Henke who was briefly in the NFL. But obviously most notable is Robert Goulet who plays the host of Ellen’s show, Dick Braxton… he really barely appears in the film, but you better believe he got a full name.
What?! This is the movie that 1-800-FLOWERS bought and paid for. Hooooo weeeeeeee. It is substantial. Every time you turn around someone is getting flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS. Ellen is even put in the hospital after getting hit by a 1-800-FLOWERS truck. I started to wonder if I misremembered it being a real company. Maybe it was made up for the movie and then someone was a huge fan and started the company.
Where?! Really great San Diego setting. It’s a rare setting… other than the fact that we pretty recently watched K-9, which is also randomly set in the *checks Wikipedia* City in Motion. This eventually plays a fairly important role in the film as it allows for the characters to run off to Mexico and then plausibly head into the desert to cross back over the border to San Diego. A-.
When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! This film is set up entirely by Valentine’s Day and the sadness that Ellen feels on that day. It really doesn’t matter from there on out as that is perfection. I would assume that there are a large number of Valentine’s Day films out there, but this is by far the funniest to claim is your favorite. A
Man, this is a weird and wild movie. I can see how someone would read the script and think it’s pretty good and want to do it. I mean, the complete u-turn that the Whitman character takes is pretty amusing. Martha basically is just like “be yourself” and it’s like Whitman never heard of such a thing and loves it. That could have been OK, if a little dark, given that Whitman is a sociopath. But they hobble the movie in three ways. First, they have some real bad side characters that are unpleasant and cartoonish, most notably Joan Cusack’s crazy ex-gf character. I usually find Cusack charming in an off-beat way, but it really doesn’t work here. Second, the director shot it like a kids movie, which isn’t surprising since he just came off Major Payne and Dennis the Menace. Finally, they muck up Whitman’s character with a whole “you are old, you have to settle” storyline for Martha. So instead of Whitman coming off like a sociopath able to charm and deceive everyone, it almost seems like everyone just doesn’t care about Martha’s well-being and just wants her to get married, even to a total crazy person. So a good concept with several major flaws. Makes for a bizarre viewing experience. As for Holy Matrimony. Wow… I mean… wow. First of all, Leonard Nimoy seems like an actually good director. The film looks great and he got some fine acting from the cast. But, come on. You can’t possibly actually think a film about a woman getting married to a ten-year-old could ever work, right? Also it’s blatantly offensive in its unrealistic portrayal of Hutterites. Clearly the writers knew nothing about the community and didn’t care at all. All they needed was a group they could pretend would have someone marry a ten-year-old. Terrible. I cannot believe it exists. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got a psycho stalker! We got Ellen as a leading lady! We’ve got Mr. Wrong! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I think Mr. Wrong must have floated onto our radar every so often because it is, amazingly, lower than 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is obviously extremely impressive and rare. For the most part I just knew it as the Ellen Degeneres vehicle, but otherwise I basically knew nothing about it. What were my expectations? Well, the trailer suggested it was one of those switcheroo comedies. The ones where Ellen thinks Bill Pullman is this awesome guy, and then, whoops! He’s actually an insane person and she’s trapped! Usually, these are really stressful and aggravating … so, unfortunately, that is what I expected.
The Good – It wasn’t that! Stunningly, the actual story is, sure, Ellen thinks Pullman is this great soft spoken guy she meets out one day and he’s rich and awesome. But then she’s like “You can be yourself!” and he’s like “really? Awesome!” and it turns out “himself” is actually an insane person who is a liar, petty criminal, and general miscreant. The way the twist comes about is excellently direct and sudden, and for that I have to at least give the movie a bit of credit. Best Bit: The twist, which happens about half way through the movie and is amusing by itself.
The Bad – I’m going to get a bit deep here, watch out. The conceit of the story, which you can almost forget as you get so lost in the insanity of the film, is that Ellen’s younger sister got married, and everyone is like “awwwwww, you’ll be next Ellen.” And she’s like, whatever. Then she meets Pullman, and he becomes crazy, and the rest of the film you could be forgiven if you forgot that that is probably the reason everyone is like “you are crazy Ellen.” Because while Pullman is a genuinely insane person, the underlying theme is that everyone else in her life is like “This is by far the best you are going to do Ellen, yeah, he’s a bit eccentric, but he loves you and is rich, c’mon!” If you accept that reading of the film as correct then there is a very sinister gaslighting undertone to the whole thing which is pretty gross. Also the movie isn’t funny, so that is obviously going to be an issue with any comedy. Fatal Flaw: In my opinion the only way this movie makes sense is if you accept that in the 90s people thought 30-year-old women should just accept the love of an insane stalker Bill Pullman because that’s the best they are going to do, deal with it. And that is terrible. Just terrible.
The BMT – I think I’ve already forgotten this film. But it is notable for being a very rare Ellen as a leading lady film. That’s interesting. It also has an interesting twist with Pullman, who is pretty great in the film as well. It is diverting, but forgettable though. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it was a switcheroo comedy, but in a better way than I was expecting. That’s fun.
Roast-radamus – Really, really good Product Placement (What?) for 1-800-FLOWERS which is all over the film constantly. Also very good Setting as a Character (Where?) for San Diego, which is rare when Los Angeles is just up the coast. And decent Not-so-secret Holiday Film (When?) for Valentine’s Day which is when Ellen and Pullman meet since she is out at a bar being sad. Closest to Bad I think, unfortunately.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Definitely a sequel. And here’s the set up, it starts as a kind of normal comedy. A meetcute and people meet the new guy, etc. And then boom! Just like in Mr. Wrong, he goes off the deep end. And here’s the twist, he takes his lovely girlfriend home and there is Whitman! He’s Whitman’s son. White bearded Pullman is back! And he’s macking the girlfriend’s mother, and only the main character seems to see the sinister undertones of this psycho family. As things unravel it is revealed that Whitman knocked off his own mother to get her money, self-published a bunch of terrible poetry, and still holds a flame for Martha (with Ellen appearing in a small cameo). I mean, I think you just call it Mr. Wrong again, and run it back like a semi-reboot (but secret sequel once Pullman shows up). Here’s the key though … make it funny.
Friend or Fiend – Oh boy, this was a weird one. In the early 90s Leonard Nemoy was directing all kinds of movies. And one of those movies was about a ten year old Hutterite who marries the wife of his recently deceased brother who stole a bunch of money from a fair in Iowa … yup. It is a really weird film, but I have to say the 13-year-old Joseph Gordon Levitt is really good, as is Patricia Arquette. The story is just really weird. A 20-year-old marries a 10-year-old in order to try and get a bunch of stolen money, all while learning the ways of the Hutterites. It is a real fish out of water story with the added disturbing undertones of forced child marriage … yeah, this movie was a mistake. It kind of has to be a Fiend just because it really is just too dull to recommend on any level. A good match with Mr. Wrong though.