Sweet Chick Flick

Chick flicks run the gambit from great to cute to ehhh to horrible. In general, I tend to trust the masses when it comes to movies, so if a chick flick comes and goes quickly, it was probably horrible.

But every once in awhile, a really cute flick comes out and then vanishes without much fanfare. This is true of Just Like Heaven, starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. I recommend it!

The plot is very, very basic. No frills. The payoff is very, very obvious. No twists. There isn't a huge supporting cast. There's barely a bad guy.

But the story works. And the characters are likable. I happen to like Reese Witherspoon, and I recently became acquainted with Mark Ruffalo through Due South (okay, recent for me!). Both are respectable actors for their level, and a decent chick flick is well within their ballpark.

More than that, Just Like Heaven doesn't use the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING--WE WILL SPEND THE LAST HALF HOUR OF THE FILM MAD AT EACH OTHER BEFORE WE TOTALLY MAKE UP which always makes you think, "Would this relationship really survive long-term?" ("No" is the answer.)

For example, I agree with Ebert who thinks the ending of 10 Ways to Lose a Guy on the First Date is totally stupid. If two grown-ups realized that their friends had tricked them into dating each other and hey, what do you know, it worked out, those grown-up people would be thrilled! Only adolescents would be all "Oooooh, your trickery was worse than mine. Ooooh, I'm SOOO mad."

Puh-lease.

Granted, there is a built-in 10 minutes of "Will it work out?" in Just Like Heaven. But it's a natural "Will it work out?" It isn't the result of mutual sulking.

(The only exception to my rule against stupid MAD AT EACH OTHER endings is Two Weeks Notice with Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. It isn't a favorite chick flick of mine--I kind of detest films that use the OTHER woman or the OTHER man as the twist--but I think that Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock play so well off each other, I'm willing to overlook a great deal of stupid plotting.)

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