October 10, 2014

The Other Woman (and 10 of the weirdest romantic comedies)
by James
James

by James Forryan

hmv London; 10/10/2014

Bio

"Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Out next week on DVD & Blu-ray, The Other Woman isn't your run-of-the-mill romcom. Cameron Diaz stars as Carly Whitten, a lawyer whose success in her career has yet to be matched by her success in relationships. When she meets Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), she think her luck may be about to change – that is until she shows up at his house to surprise him and meets his wife.

Mark's wife Kate (Leslie Mann) proceeds to track Carly down, but instead of taking revenge upon learning that Mark and Carly been sleeping together for weeks, the two end up bonding. When Mark begins making excuses to his wife she assumes he is sneaking out to be with Carly, but he's been giving her excuses too. The pair follow him and discover there is a third woman in the equation, and that he's cheating on them both. The three women team up and decide to get revenge on Mark in the cruellest way they can imagine.

Nick Cassavetes is the man in the director's chair for this oddball romantic comedy and with films as diverse as Face/Off and The Notebook already under his belt, he has a range of experience to draw from. Writer Melissa Stack on the other hand is a relative newcomer with only one previous feature, 2012's Tepandris Rising, to her name, but even so the dialogue is slick and there are more tan a few laugh-out-loud moments. It won't be for everyone, but if romcoms are your thing then The Other Woman does offer something a little different to your standard boy-meets-girl yarn.

It's not the first film to stretch the definition of what a romantic comedy can be though, and we've picked out 10 of the weirdest examples you're ever likely to find...

The Other Woman - Trailer

A Life Less Ordinary

A Life Less Ordinary

(1997)

Danny Boyle's 1997 film also stars Cameron Diaz, this time alongside Ewan McGregor, who finds himself unemployed when he is fired from his cleaning job and replaced with a robot. To get revenge, he kidnaps his boss' daughter (Diaz), but things don't go quite to plan. As it turns out, his victim isn't particularly enamoured with her father either, and so the two hatch a plan to share the ransom for her return.

To make matters even stranger, all the time they are being watched over by two angels who are acting as a sort of celestial matchmaking enterprise tasked with making the couple fall in love. As bizarre as it is funny, Boyle's film is one of the oddest romantic comedies in recent memory.

Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl

(2007)

This charming but very weird film by Craig Gillespie stars Ryan Gosling as a shy and socially awkward young man named Lars who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his parents. He lives in the garage of the house he and his brother Gus inherited, which is currently inhabited by Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karin (Emily Mortimer).

The couple have tried to get him to interact with people more, but then one day he announces he has met a girl, much to the delight of Gus and Karin. Their delight soon turns to worry however when Lars brings home his new 'girlfriend' – a sex doll bought from the internet that he has named Bianca, who he treats as af she was a real, living person.

The concept could easily have turned into one long joke, but thanks to some smart writing by Nancy Oliver it's actually very touching, especially the way in which their community humours Lars, even giving Bianca a job manning the changing rooms at a local clothing store, hoping to rehabilitate him. If you're looking for something totally unique, this is highly recommended.

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK

(2006)

Surely one of the oddest films to fall into the romcom category, this film by Chan-wook Park features a girl who finds herself committed to a psychiatric facility when she claims that she is a cyborg. She refuses to eat (since cyborgs don't need food, obviously) and nearly kills herself by trying to plug herself into the electricity to supply to get 'more power'.

Then she meets one of the other patients, a man who thinks he can steal people's souls and take on their abilities and personality traits, and soon finds herself falling in love.
Make no mistake, this is hands down one of the weirdest films you'll see, in any genre, but it's well worth a look.

Youth in Revolt

Youth in Revolt

(2009)

Miguel Arteta's film is, in one sense, very weird indeed, but that's mostly down to the character played by Michael Cena, a slightly awkward 16-year-old named Nick Twisp. On the other hand, Youth in Revolt is the classic love-against-all-odds story; Nick's deadbeat parents are on the verge of divorce when he meets a girl named Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) and instantly falls in love.

Getting with her is going to be tough though – he'll need to find his dad a job in her area, then convince his parents to let him move in with his father, and even after he's done that he still needs to find a way to impress Sheeni. Just as he's about to give up, he has a brainwave and invents an alter-ego named Francois, and things start to get very weird indeed.

Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love

(2002)

Paul Thomas Anderson's film is as strange as they come, but it's also brilliant. Adam Sandler stars as Barry, the owner of a novelty goods business who finds himself falling for an English girl named Lena (Emily Watson), but he has problems. He is constantly teased by his seven sisters and after moment of loneliness finds himself being extorted by the people who run a sex hotline, whose owner (Philip Seymour Hoffman) soon turns nasty.

Bizarre, brilliantly written and very well acted by its talented cast, we'd highly recommend this to anyone, even if Adam Sandler isn't your thing.

50 First Dates

50 First Dates

(2004)

Peter Segal's 2004 film stars Adam Sandler as the commitment-phobic Henry Roth, who thinks he has finally met the girl of his dreams in Lucy (Drew Barrymore), but then he discovers she has a medical condition which gives her short-term memory loss, meaning that she forgets him the very next day. Henry is then forced to woo her several times over in an attempt to make her memory of him sink in.

The on-screen chemistry between Barrymore and Sandler that made The Wedding Singer such a hit is also present here, and keeps this lightweight but likeable film ticking over.

The Science of Sleep

The Science of Sleep

(2006)

Michel Gondry made a name for himself creating a series of memorable and imaginative music videos for the likes of The White Stripes ('Fell in Love with a Girl') and Foo Fighters ('Everlong'), and that imagination is also evident in his feature-length debut. A semi-autobiographical story based on Gondry's own life, it details his job as a copywriter and his first experience of falling in love.

As surreal as it is charming, this is highly recommended and a must-see for any fans of Gondry's other work.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

(2008)

Kevin Smith's 2008 film stars Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks as two lifelong friends enjoying a completely platonic relationship. Both have money problems, and so they hatch a plan to solved their cash flow issues by making an adult film. After all, it's just sex, how hard can it be? (if you'll pardon the unintentional pun...)

When the cameras start rolling however, the pair discover that their feelings for each other may be stringer than either of them has realised.

Naturally, being a Kevin Smith film, there are dick and fart jokes aplenty, and fans of Smith's earlier work will no doubt recognise Jason Mewes as one of the amateur actors enlisted for the project, but if you're not too easily offended and see nothing wrong with a few puerile gags, this is well worth a watch.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

(2010)

In between filming the second and third films in his 'Blood & Ice Cream' Trilogy, director Edgar Wright paused to direct this unusual film based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Michael Cera stars as Scott, who must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil ex-partners in order to win her heart.

A mixture of live action and insane, Manga-inspired animation, it's probably the weirdest thing Wright has done and audiences struggled to understand where the film was coming from - partuclarly those not familiar with the comics - but it's very inventive, visually stunning and easily one of the most original romantic comedies we've seen.

Amélie

Amélie

(2001)

This quirky little French film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet is almost impossible not to like. Audrey Tautou stars as the young French woman with the vivid imagination who becomes obsessed with finding the owner of a book containing a collection of passport photographs. When she does locate the man who owns the scrapbook, she finds herself intrigued by not only the young man in question, but the strange man who appears several times in the book, appearing to take his photo on a regular basis and leave the resulting prints in the booth.

As odd as the couple are, they are perfectly matched. All Amelie needs to do is overcome her shyness, but for her this isn't as easy as it sounds...

Beautifully shot, brilliantly edited and with some great performances, we can't recommend this film highly enough.