No Red Carpet Even for Gwenyth

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I do not remember ever seeing The Good Night theaters. Nor, do I remember even reading about this film in any “Coming Soon” articles. The first time I even heard of it was in the video store. There it was staring at me from the shelves. It is surprising to me that this movie went straight to DVD because the cast consists of Gwenyth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz, Danny Devito and Simon Pegg, who is growing ever more recognizable. Oh, did I mention, The Good Night is written and directed by Jake Paltrow, brother to Oscar-winning Hollywood starlet, Gwenyth? The Good Night has the potential to be good (excuse the pun), but it just misses the mark of eccentricity and becomes essentially just plain odd.

The Good Night is about Gary, played by Martin Freeman, best known as Tim (or Jim to us) on the BBC version of The Office, who finds himself discouraged by his life both professionally and personally. He is in a relationship with Dora (Paltrow), who is curiously a very dowdy looking art curator in New York City. In Gary’s inability to find happiness in reality, he turns to his dreams where he discovers a beautiful woman named Anna (Cruz). In order to return to his nightly affair with Anna, Gary seeks the help of a dream guru, played by Devito, who helps Gary to train himself in mastering his dreams. Ultimately, Anna turns out to be a real model in a much displayed ad around New York. Gary meets this model and discovers she is nothing like the dream girl, which starts to make him realize that maybe his dreams should be about Dora. None of this really works out as it should and the lack of any compassion from Paltrow’s Dora makes one wonder why Gary would have ever ended up with her. Simon Pegg is completely miscast as a misogynistic philanderer, who is Gary’s boss and friend. There is no basis for the friendship.

The ending of The Good Night make it logical to believe that Jake Paltrow found Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky (based on the Spanish Film, Open Your Eyes) to be a basis for writing his story. Interestingly, Penelope Cruz once again plays a dream version of her not so real self. She plays the same character in Open Your Eyes and Vanilla Sky. With so many rentals to choose from, I sometimes find myself saying, “Why watch this?” I do not know the answer. And, what should one do when even the Paltrow and Cruz pictures are missing the theater releases and heading straight to DVD?

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