starring Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, J.K. Simmons, Chris Elliott and Allison Janney
written and directed by Marc Lawrence
Also called “The Rewrite,” Hugh Grant (one of my favorite contemporary actors) plays famous but washed-up screen-writer Keith Michaels. Broke and desperate for a job and money he takes a screenwriting teaching job at a rural college town in Binghamton, NY. He leaves Los Angeles and arrives in Binghamton with a chip on his shoulder about the town, the college and the students, hating the idea of teaching. But over time he discovers that he likes the students and he becomes good at teaching. So far it presents similar veins as Jack Black’s School of Rock (2003, directed by Richard Linklater), which is widely well regarded but which I hated vehemently when it was released and still do.
There are fairly programmatic set-ups involving an affair with a female student, conflicts with professional staff, ongoing dealings with his Hollywood agent, reconciliation to the protocols of campus life, etc. But romantic-comedy is my favorite kind of movie, so maybe I am disposed to over-estimating it. Watching it was a bit of nice, leisurely fun.
Marissa Tomei is one of his students who helps him along the journey to successfully grow into his new life. At 52 she still looks great in jeans. I wish her character had a bigger role. Hugh Grant plays a more mature version of his younger romantic comedy characters. He’s still good at it.