Monday, 22 June 2015

#49(b) Town and Country (2001)

Cast: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling, Nastassja Kinski, Josh Hartnet, Andie MacDowell, Charlton Heston.

Director: Peter Chelsom

Genre: Comedy, Romance

The next movie on our list is Town and Country (2001), a comedy about 2 married couples whose relationship is tested to breaking point on discovery that both husbands are having affairs, (not with each other I must add). It contains an all-star cast led by Warren Beatty and reads like a who’s who in modern cinema history. With such calibre, surely this film does not belong in our top 100 bad movies list?

Beatty plays Porter Stoddard, a wealthy architect married for 25 years to Ellie, (Keaton), an interior designer. They lead a typical middle class existence with 2 children, the family dog and a nice big house with big cars to match. It’s all very civilized and stable on the outside, but unbeknownst to Ellie, Porter is having an affair with young Cellist Alex, (Kinski).

The other couple is Griffin Morris, (Shandling) and his wife Mona, (Hawn). Married for a similar period as Porter and Ellie, Griffin and Mona also lead a nice middle class lifestyle with the added bonus of no children. However, their relationship hits the rocks when Mona discovers Griffin is having an affair with a mysterious red haired lady. The only thing Mona does not know is that the lady is in actual fact a man and that Griffin likes to bowl from the Pavilion end.

With divorce proceedings underway, Mona moves down to her house in Mississippi, which is in need of renovation. Ellie asks Porter to help Mona as she is worried about Mona’s state of mind. Porter agrees and quickly realises the house will need a lot of work. Old, run down and smelling of damp, Beatty is best known for playing the lead role in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde.

Porter’s infidelity continues as after a drunken night on the town, he sleeps with Mona. In the meantime an anonymous phone call to Ellie alerts her to the fact that Porter is having an affair with the Cellist. She goes round to Mona’s to have a heart to heart not knowing that at that moment Porter is doing some horizontal jogging with Mona.

Fortunately for Porter, Ellie does not discover the fact he is there and realising he needs to get out of town for a while, he and Griffin decide to retreat to Griffin’s home in Sun Valley. Porter can’t keep it in his pants for long, however, and starts yet another affair with Eugenie Claybourne, (MacDowell), a rich spoilt lady, financed by daddy, (Heston).

Will Ellie realise the full extent of Porter’s womanising and if she does, can she forgive him? Can Mona and Griffin repair their relationship? Will there ever be a point in this movie where I give a crap about any of these characters? The answer to the last question is a resounding, no.

Town and Country tries to be a British farce, but it fails spectacularly, which is surprising given it has a British director, Peter Chelsom. Sure it has trousers falling down, lovers hidden in cupboards and lots of people walking into lots of rooms looking very flustered, however, the jokes are subtle and normally fall flat. It feels as if the cast have an in-joke which we are not privy to and they probably do; the size of the pay checks they received for this drivel.

The soundtrack is dated and does nothing to lift the movie. Sounding like a 1920’s big band throughout, it makes the movie feel old-fashioned and I half expect the cast to break out into a Charleston. However, instead of the roaring twenties we are left with the whimpering noughties.

But the reason why this movie is so bad is simply due to Beatty and co and the awful characters they are portraying.

Beatty plays Beatty, a womanising shit of a man who has a higher opinion of himself than everyone else. Keaton plays a cold statuesque woman and could easily have been replaced with a lump of rock. Hawn plays every character she’s played since Private Benjamin, Shandling is still learning his lines and has only turned up for the free coffee and MacDowell plays the only character she has ever played throughout her career.

Even Charlton Heston can’t save this movie as he decided to play Charlton Heston, a right wing idiot with an unhealthy gun obsession.

With a cast of such talent and acting experience, their lacklustre performances are very disappointing and their characters become so obnoxious and unlikeable that you really do not care what happens to them. It is very hard to invest 100 mins of your life into this shallow bunch and for that reason the movie drags and feels longer than it actually is.

So with such calibre of actors, does this film belong in our top 100 bad movies list?

Absolutely yes!

I’ve listed this movie’s genre as comedy and romance and that is true but with 2 exceptions. There is not really any romance, unless you count a 70 year old man trying to hump anything with a pulse as romance. And there is no comedy, unless you count a 70 year old man trying to hump anything with a pulse as comedy.

Don’t let the all-star cast sway you into thinking this is going to be a good movie, it isn’t and like Beatty’s view on monogamy, it should be avoided at all costs.