A Life Less Ordinary
starring Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Delroy Lindo, Holly Hunter, Ian Holm and Dan Hedayaa
directed by Danny Boyle
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has become an actor to watch over the last few years. First appearing in the British working-class films Trainspotting and Brassed Off (with Pete Postlethwaite), and more recently in Night Watch (with Nick Nolte), in my imagination I compare McGregor’s rise with that of American Ethan Hawke. They seem to be of a similar age and temperament.
You might member his co-star in A Life Less Ordinary, professional model-turned-actress Cameron Diaz, form films like Mask (with Jim Carrey) and the more recent, acclaimed There’s Something About Mary.
A Life Less Ordinary is an interesting, if squalid and depraved film featuring a twist to the old tale of man-meets-woman, battle-of-the-sexes. The pitifulness of he lead character, McGregor, mixed with the hard-core, industrial urban music soundtrack make a barely tolerable context for the violence.
The entertaining twist here is that the violence is mostly perpetrated by two guardian angels, Holy Hunter and Delroy Lindo (my favorite living actor) who are on a do-or-die mission form the archangel Gabriel himself (Dan Hedaya) “to unite Man and Woman blah, blah, blah ...” They are assigned to McGregor and Diaz and approach the dilemma of uniting them in a lasting love bond in a manner completely atypical of your average angel. I liked Dan Hedaya very much. He is almost as quirky as Steve Buscemi, and they both add a certain unique comedy to the show that is very entertaining. In this case it is necessary to relieve some of the horror form the antics of Holly Hunter’s character.
Poor working man McGregor is downsized at his work. In a vengeful rage he attacks the president of his company, Ian Holm, at precisely the moment that Holm is having a father-daughter meeting with his spoiled, rich girl spawn, Diaz. What’s a guy to do? Kidnap the daughter, of course! It’s strange, though, how the victim doesn’t seem to want to get away. Instead, she kids McGregor’s kidnap, giving him advice and showing him the best way to make kidnapper demands. She has a vengeful plan of her own to get back at daddy for perceived slights, and get from him enough money to sustain herself in the rich life to which she is accustomed.
Into this situation arrive Lindo and Hunter to unite the kidnapper and his victim in lasting love.
The lesson from the film for the end of the century and the beginning of the new millennium is, “You’re a man, not a machine. Don’t let anyone ever treat you otherwise.”