Friday, March 02, 2012

1701 - Conception

I rented this film through iTunes based on a recommend from Ed Burns, which I think was solely based on his friendship with cast member Julie Bowen.  This is the kind of film that I am programmed to love.  An ensemble rom-com about couples getting pregnant.  In fact going into it I was a bit worried that it would be a bit too close to my current project.  But sadly, love it I did not.  And now I'm trying to figure out if I liked it…
The cast is pretty damn solid with highlights from Julie Bowen, Alan Tudyk, Jonathon Silverman and Jennifer Finnigan.  But a lot of the cast just aren't given very much to do - people like Pamela Adlon and Sarah Hyland just don't have any room to flex their chops.
The film ultimately centres around… geez.. I can't even remember how many couples… I want to say six… on the day/night that they conceive a child.  Some are trying, some are not.  But the problem is that I couldn't even remember how many couples - mostly because they just kind of blend together in a lot of ways.  They are all in unique situations and environments, but they just don't stand out.  Some do - there's a story of a teenager trying to convince her boyfriend to give up eating meat by giving up her virginity - that stands out.  Another story wherein the issue in the relationship seems to be that they don't like each other when they're sweaty, do not.  I think this film would have been far stronger if they had just picked the most unique of the stories and fleshed them out a lot more.  There are some really wonderful little nuggets about people and relationships inside of here, but they almost seem to be by accident as opposed to by choice or design. 
Maybe I'm just crazy, but I think that they you do an ensemble story centring around a common theme that you should be attempting to say something about that theme.  Using the ensemble design to explore the issue from different angles.  This just felt like someone wanted to make a film and had access to good actors.  The actors do the best with what they're given. 
So I can't really recommend this one unless you want to see the actors in a different role from how you normally see them.  Otherwise this film is just a bit of a mess for me.  The tone was all over the place, and even the audio was noticeably bad in a few scenes (which is nit-picky, but if I noticed it enough to comment on it - that's a problem 'cause it took me out of the film).  Oh, and I don't know why people think that David Arquette is funny… am I crazy and missing something about that guy?

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