2000, Movies

American Women aka The Closer You Get (2000, Aileen Ritchie)

This is a mostly endearing little comedy about how, with some modifications, happiness is often looking you right in the face when you don’t even know it. the message of being happy with what you’ve got is a good one, though I’m not sure I want to live in the town depicted in the film.

This is one of those comedies set in a village with its own particular quirks, where part of the charm of the film is the small town. But I have to say that I am long over my desire to live in a small town, especially one like this, where the post office lady looks at your mail and everybody in town knows everything about you. (A similar plot – or at least a setting – could be used for a horror movie, as far as I’m concerned. Think of the conspiracy in Hot Fuzz but a much smaller village.)

Still, there’s a good sense of place and the silly event that kicks off the plot is rightly considered silly by characters who learn about it, which is refreshing. And it’s refreshingly two-sided given that the film is mostly centered on the men.

The comedy is pretty tame but it’s rooted in character and I laughed out loud a couple of times. But if you like your comedy on the gentler side you’ll probably find it funnier than I did. It’s very much a comedy in the classical sense of the term too, so everyone gets what they need.

My one nitpick is the final gag, which I get the urge to include but which doesn’t actually make much sense given the whole premise is that these men are unrealistic. I get that it’s just a gag but I felt like it undercut the message and vibe of the film.

Anyway, it’s pleasant.


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