So far on the list this movie is the one I’ve been dreading watching the most. Before I looked up what I had to watch next, I had no idea what this movie even was. As soon as I saw that it was a Guy Ritchie directed romance movie starring Madonna, the memories of this being released and me cringing at the very idea came flooding back. So now I had to watch this, and I was left cursing my drunken self for making such a stupid pact with Colin in the first place.
Amber Leighton (Madonna), is a rich, arrogant socialite, who is never pleased with anything, including her pharmaceutical kingpin husband Tony (Bruce Greenwood). Tony takes her on a no frills private cruise with two other couples, where she takes out her anger on the ships first mate, Guiseppe Esposito (Adriano Giannini). When Amber makes Guiseppe take her out on a boat to join the other couples on a day trip to an island (or something like that - maybe it was diving, who cares?) the engine breaks and they get stranded. Eventually they land on a deserted island where Amber’s money and power mean nothing and Guiseppe’s skills are much more important. Guiseppe bullies and humiliates Amber until they eventually fall in love. I’m not sure what happened next as my screen was covered in angry vomit.
There are a few questions in the world that I’m sure I’ll never know the answer to: What killed off the dinosaurs? Who was Jack the Ripper? Who put the bomp in de-bomp-de-bomp-de-bomp? And finally: Why do people keep hiring Madonna to “act” in movies?
When I say act, what I really mean is walk around saying her lines and performing actions in a way that makes a pre-school nursery nativity play look like it was being performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Haven’t these people witnessed her previous “acting” skills in movies such as Who’s That Girl or Dick Tracy?
To say that she was hired because she was at the time married to the director, would probably be a fair assumption. When asked why Madonna was cast Guy Ritchie reportedly said "Because she was cheap and available." I’m just not convinced that they couldn’t have just found somebody even cheaper, by throwing a rock in Hollywood and choosing whichever out of work actress it hit. But then again, they may not have been able to find someone who could get time off from their waiting job…
I think you’ve got to look at it like this. If you’re watching a Guy Ritchie movie and you’re missing the acting talents of Vinnie Jones, then something has gone seriously wrong.
To make it worse, she also has a musical number in this movie. Actually that's a lie, she mimes to a song. I wasn't aware that Madonna had lost all the musical talent that she'd had in the eighties so badly that she couldn't perform her own song in this. To make things worse, her miming abilities are worse than Milli Vanilli's. All I can say is that the song in this is as embarrassing to watch as the Mae West song in Myra Breckinridge, don't believe me? Check it out for yourself... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mu08qFblGM
Is there anything more excruciating than trying to watch Madonna act for an hour and a half? It turns out there is, watching Guy Ritchie try to direct anything other than a gangster movie for an hour and a half.
A lot of people seemed to dislike Ritchie’s direction style in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, calling it style over content, but I really liked it. The rapid scene cuts, the quick-fire conversations and the fact that he makes everything look cool and gritty at the same time all worked really well, whilst breathing a bit of life into what can be a tired genre. Unfortunately whilst he does this at the beginning of the movie, and briefly you think that he may be trying to bring a new angle to the romance genre, you soon get motion sickness and the nagging feeling that Ritchie is really out of his depth.
For some reason the film also has a constant soundtrack of the sort of music you’d expect to hear in a cockroach infested kebab house. The sort of music that may happily accompany a crazy ouzo fuelled night out, but will instantly bring back embarrassing memories when heard sober.
The love story between Amber and Guiseppe is based around him being a misogynistic caveman, mentally and physically abusing her until she becomes submissive towards him. He slaps her, makes her call him master, deines her food and water until she washes his clothes. It’s like a bad two person version of Lord of the Flies, but with kissing instead of murder.
Eventually she learns to catch an octopus on her own, proving that she is still a strong willed woman, but this can’t redeem what is a badly made exploration of human nature. This could have been an interesting exploration on primal instincts and the changing of societal roles in harsh circumstances, but it just comes across as a mans petty revenge against a spoilt, rich lady who wanted fresh coffee and the comforts that she was accustomed to.
This film is actually a remake of an Italian romantic comedy from 1974, which has quite positive reviews on IMDB. As has been proved many times, Hollywood remakes of foreign language films often lose what made the original so good in the first place. Whether this is a loss of an expertly crafted atmosphere (The Ring), a significant change in the plot (The Vanishing) or just sometimes it’s just plain bad (Godzilla). I can’t comment on what’s been lost in this remake, but I’m not entirely sure what the point of remaking it in the first place was.
This is the least romantic movie since Deliverance. It stinks worse than the fish guts they left rotting in the sun on the beach and is best left avoided unless you’re feeling really masochistic.