|It is a universally acknowledged fact that Keanu Reeves is one of the best bad actors in Hollywood. He excels at turning a bad film into an enjoyable bad film. But that is not the case with Sweet November, Keanu's latest outing with Charlize Theron.The pair made their first film together a few years ago with The Devil's Advocate, though that film was an more successful endeavor. And it could be argued that the reason that film was so superior, even though the cast was the same, was because Al Pacino was in that film. And although Sweet November has a decent supporting cast, this film is nothing short of laughable in many areas.|
And those laughs begin with how the relationship between Theron and Reeves looks on the screen. Both actors sound so insincere with their dialogue that it's hard to believe they fall in love. Perhaps it was the southern accents in Advocate that covered up their lack of believability on the screen. Both of them have had successful roles in that past and it's unclear why their relationship should look so fake now. It's very possible that the script fouled them up. The story, about a woman who invites a man to live with her for a month, promising she'll change his life, looks good as a sentence, but as a movie, there are a few things missing. Namely, motivation for the two main characters. Why does Theron's character feel the need to invite strange men into her home for a month? Does she just get a kick out of it?
This reason is never revealed to the audience. So the character just invites men into her house because she just does. It's quite a weak reason to get Theron and Reeves together. And the fact that Reeves accepts her proposition is a mystery as well. Sure, he's going to get to sleep with Theron for a month, but why give up his entire life for it? There's no real reason attached to his decision. And something else about this story, which is bound to bother some audience members, is the pervasive amount of melodramatic snafu present in just about every scene. The characters are so weepy and depressed most of the time that the romance seems quite strained much of the time. But this rolls back to the fact that Theron and Reeves just don't click in this film.
Their relationship is completely unreal, just like their housing arrangements. Theron's character doesn't seem to have a job in the film. She just entertains men like a whore in bordello. And how does she afford that palace? She lives in San Francisco, the most expensive city on the planet. But concerns like the characters' living arrangements don't really matter in the larger scheme of things. Because this film is so overly dramatic, with such a lack of an interesting story line, that the bad acting and character set-up match the tone of the movie rather well. Everything in this movie is sub-standard. And sometimes, having a movie with a bunch of bad elements can actually add up to a good movie.
There are several classic B-movies with horrible acting and story that make for a pretty entertaining feature film experience. But Sweet November never approaches classic status. And although most of it is quite horrid, it never becomes so bad that it gets to be entertaining. A good descriptive word for the whole fiasco would probably be "lame." In the sense that the film limps along like a dog with three legs. There's no motivation for the character because they don't really fall in love. They only pretend to. Or that is the way it seems anyway. Theron and Reeves in this film are so horribly miss-matched that seeing them together on screen in an embrace with bring tears to no one's eyes. Well, maybe tears of boredom.
In addition to a sense that nothing is quite right in this film, the flow of the story just never makes an impact. Although there's an obvious "reveal" about halfway through the story (it's not hard to figure out what will keep these two people apart; the trailer for the film shows more than enough), there's no tension pulling on the characters. The sense of anticipation or infatuation that should be present on screen in a love story is nowhere to be found. Sweet November would be more aptly described as a gelatinous mass that covers the entire screen with weepy and soggy melodrama that would definitely benefit from a wringing out.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.