A Life Less Ordinary (Twentieth Century Fox) is an improbable, often confusing, but very funny love story.
Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) stars as Robert, a janitor at a large corporation. He is, to put it bluntly, a loser. Cameron Diaz (My Best Friend’s Wedding) stars as Celine, the daughter of Robert’s boss. She is a bitchy-but-beautiful brat. These two would never speak to each other, much less fall in love.
Enter God. Celestial cops (angels) O’Reilly (Holly Hunter, The Piano) and Jackson (Delroy Lindo, Ransom) have an assignment. Their mission? Get Celine and Robert to fall in love – fast.
Robert is fired, dumped and evicted all in the same day. What to do? Wreak vengeance on the robot that has taken his janitorial duties away, of course. In the ensuing confrontation, he accidentally kidnaps Celine.
The situation gives the term “comedy of errors” an entirely new meaning. Robert is worse than inept at being a villain. Celine quickly takes over, deciding to get as much ransom dough from her heartless father as possible. She gives Robert lessons in kidnapping etiquette and the art of the ransom phone call. Ordinary is, thus far, delightfully quirky.
Then they go to a karaoke bar. From this point the movie slides into the downright bizarre. O’Reilly and Jackson turn desperate and confuse an otherwise straightforward romance. Unnecessary violence ensues, which darkens the mood considerably.
Though Celine and Robert are falling in love, one wonders how a gorgeous, intelligent woman could fall for this dork. But then, Robert is an underdog, which makes him the ideal hero.
Diaz and McGregor enjoy an unbelievable chemistry, which makes the film particularly worthwhile.
Be prepared for a heavy dose of the surreal as the film progresses – including a claymation sequence and slow-motion replays.
It is the film’s capacity to laugh at itself that makes it such a success. Don’t dismiss the angel plot. It is, if nothing else, a welcome twist in your typical untraditional love story.
Though entirely unlikely, and at times confusing, A Life Less Ordinary is an intelligent and extremely funny film.
A Life Less Ordinary opens Fri., Oct. 24.