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Playing it Cool – Film Review

A scriptwriter (Chris Evans) – we’ll call him ‘Guy’ – is forced to write a romantic comedy, when all he wants to do is write action films.

All his life he has never been in love. In love’s place is a string of broken hearts and his mom’s abandonment right after she told him how much she loved him. Eager to complete his script, Guy tries to do research on what it would be like to be in love and he finds himself at a charity event. He meets Girl (Michelle Monaghan); they hit it off really well after they meet at the restroom and decide to do a social experiment where they act like a couple and flirt with strangers to see their reactions. By the end of the night, poor Guy is already so smitten. And then there’s an unexpected turn… Girl has a boyfriend!
With the memory of Girl etched in his brain, he attends every charity event in the city until he finds her again. She is happy to see him too but she says they can only ‘just be friends’. He, however, is determined to win her heart.
I already knew this was going to be a corny film. After all, how many ways can one make a film about someone who swears never to fall in love until one day, they meet a stranger that makes them question everything?Therefore, my judgement is not based on originality, but on how enjoyable the movie was.
In the beginning it had some good parts. I was very amused at how Guy navigates his way around his notion of love, and the random goings-on in his strange friends’ lives are very comical. They are all writers who each have their views on what love is and how it should be.
Scott (Topher Grace) leaves the book, Love in the Time of Cholera lying around at random cafes because it is ‘his heart’ – he is pathetically romantic and unashamed. Perhaps the kookiest of them all, Mallory (Aubrey Plaza), is the exorbitant feminist who forces her friends to attend her uncomfortable one-woman shows. Samson (Luke Wilson) is a married man who thinks marriage is a dead end. He may be too old to hang out with the crew, but no-one asks, they just let him be.
What was really funny, however, is how I enjoyed the movie more without the female lead. This is puzzling, because the relationship between the two lead characters is supposed to be the main attraction of every rom-com; how well they complement each other, the unrealistic dreams they plant into the viewers’ minds – it’s a team effort. So what went wrong?
I may be contradicting myself here, but I think Girl’s character brought an overload of cliches.
Before she entered the scene, Guy makes declarations about how he does not want to write a corny script.
They spend a lot of time together and, of course, she has more fun with him than she does with her fiance, who at this point is now known as ‘Stuffy’ (Ioan Gruffudd). The least the scriptwriters could have done was attempt to stick to what the character had promised, or not have sold such expectations at all; we would have understood. Honestly, this is why people have trust issues.
I also don’t know what the point is in leaving the main characters without names.
I assume it is to make them seem more relatable, since their ‘boy meets girl’ scenario could supposedly happen to anybody.
But I don’t know anyone who would search every charity event in the city for one person and not look like a stalker.
As amusing as the film was during some of the parts, most parts were flat and overused.
I am not saying you can’t enjoy the movie; I did, a little. You’d just have to ignore its many flat patches to enjoy it to the fullest.

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