'Begin Again' proves to be just another summer movie
Review Movie fails to impress or stand out in sea of new films, opens Wednesday
Summer brings an influx of big budget films, all aiming to be the summer blockbuster. Originality is typically lacking and while casts may feature quality, sheer quantity overwhelms and creates numerous generic films. Begin Again is no exception.
Relying on two separate flashbacks to introduce the main characters, Gretta (Kiera Knightley) and Dan (Mark Ruffalo) meet at the best/worst time. Gretta was just tossed aside by her musician boyfriend on his way to fame; Dan was fired from the record label he started as an idealist in the 90s. She sings a sad song at an open mic, he hears what no one else does and they plot to make beautiful music together. In doing so, each works through the issues they face.
Technically, there may be some originality, but the plot itself falls flat. Sure it has some moments of inspiration, but a good score will do that. As will a good cast, which director John Carney was lucky enough to have. Ruffalo creates an excellent drunk father experiencing a mid-life crisis; Knightley is as charming as ever as the slighted ex-girlfriend.
Although generic, Begin Again does have its moments. When things begin to turn around for the main characters, its appreciated that they are grounded by reality for a bit before continuing off onto what could only be characterized as a charmed life. This makes the film stand out, if only for the briefest of moments.
Theres also the on-point commentary on mainstream music, as Dave (Adam Levine) is transformed from ideal musician to trendy pop star looking for the next hit. Certainly a comedic gem, its also a not-so-subtle stab at what the industry has become.
Overall, the film is enjoyable. It has its share of cute moments, moves along well and leaves viewers happy. Unfortunately it fails to break the cookie-cutter mold and falls short of anything nearing exceptional.
Begin Again opens Wednesday.