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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
MOVIE REVIEW: "HOPE SPRINGS"Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at 2:07 AM
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures
Unfortunately, the film is a festering drama that offers little insightfulness, even less in the way of laughter and there is not even a threatening impediment. David Frankel (Miami Rhapsody, The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) directs; Steve Carell, Jean Smart, Mimi Rogers and Elisabeth Shue co-star.
After finding a book written by Dr. Bernie Feld (Carell), Kay decides to enroll her and Arnold in Feld's intensive couple counseling.
Kay and Arnold are still in love, but along the way the couple lost the proverbial spark in their marriage. Feeling her life is stagnate, Kay goes through the program with her obstinate husband hoping to rekindle their love affair.
"Hope Springs" is noticeably flawed and appears to rely on its cast to carry the lackluster narrative from nauseam to something likeable, but they fail. There is no on-screen chemistry between Streep and Jones, which dooms the movie as much, if not more, than the poorly crafted script.
Kay is a whiny ingrate and Arnold is a clueless husband who habitually withholds any manner of physical affection from his wife. It is hard to root for a movie's main characters when you don't even care about them.
Also, the film absolutely wastes the talents of its A-List actors. The script offers no significant character development for veteran actors Streep or Jones to sink their acting chops into, and Carell is only allowed to perform a shell of a character.
Dr. Feld is merely there just as a guidance counselor. There is no meaningful interaction between him and his co-stars and Carell's character is grossly underdeveloped. Any performer could have played this role, because Feld is laughably that inconsequential to the movie.
Would it have hurt to give him more a backstory or even a semblance of humanity? It's nice to see Carell, but his character is most akin to a detention hall monitor. The writers and filmmakers should be ashamed for wasting the talents of these three actors.
Finally, the story is devoid of any real antagonist or obstacle. Even with the couple engaged in marital therapy, I never felt their union was in any real danger. It isn't until late in film that Feld even suggests that Kay might leave Arnold.
A story without conflict is just mundane and this humdrum tale lethargically limps to a very, very predictable and unsatisfying conclusion. I was hoping for a movie in the same mold of "It's Complicated" (2009), but the best title this film could ever hope for is "It's Pointless."
"Hope Springs," but not in this monotonous movie.
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Steven graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications, focusing on film studies, journalism and theatre arts. Dubbed a "prolific" writer by Hollywood icon Kenneth Johnson (The Incredible Hulk, V, The Bionic Woman, Alien Nation), Steven has been honored by the Arkansas College Media Association for his story writing prowess. He has also received recognition for his dramatic writing from the Eerie, Shriekfest and Screamfest horror film festivals. Publications include: Carroll County News, Saline Courier, Forum, Echo and Moroch.
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