THE GOOD NIGHT

2.5 out of 10

UK/USA co-production

Release Date: 18th January 2008

Director: Jake Paltrow (Young Ones)

Cast: Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz, Michael Gambon, Amber Sealey, Meredith MacNeill, Amanda Abbington, Stephen Graham, Keith Allen with Jarvis Cocker and Danny DeVito

Writer: Jake Paltrow

Trailer: THE GOOD NIGHT

UnknownThis wishy washy wanna-be romantic comedy from actor Gwyneth Paltrow‘s brother Jake is a flop.  Considering the wealth of talent involved the film never once shows signs of life, it just goes through the emotions ignoring the story’s potential. It’s no wonder that The Good Night sunk without trace when it went on general release back in 2008. I think it was only released as an after thought to capitalise on the success Simon Pegg was having post Hot Fuzz.

Gary (MARTIN FREEMAN – THE OFFICE) and Paul (SIMON PEGG – STAR TREK 2) were once a successful 80s pop band. They now live in New York running an ad agency and where Paul gets the clients and Gary composes the music for its ads, obviously. Gary lives a discontented life with his miserable artist, wife Dora (GWYNETH PALTROW – IRON MAN 3). Paul is openly cheating on his wife and is a complete douche-bag and not even a funny one. Gary begins to have lucid wet dreams about a model, Melodia (PENELOPE CRUZ – I’M SO EXCITED), so he investigates ways to have longer more involving dreams to escape reality. He joins a dream sharing course where he meets Mel (DANNY DEVITO – MATHILDA) and begins to find out that there’s a quest for the perpetual dream state, but will he get locked in? And then one day, in real life, he spots Melodia’s image on the side of a bus in an advert….

The Good Night‘s main problem is that it doesn’t know whether it wants to be a comedy, a romance or a drama. Some films can manage to be all three, The Good Night fails to be any. Much of the blame can be left with a script that casts aside its own rules or doesn’t try hard enough to investigate any of the story lines for depth.  Bigger ideas are hinted at and then lifted discarded. At different stages, Gary’s friends (Jarvis Cocker of Pulp as himself, Paul and an ex-girlfriend) are interviewed about their memories of him and he band. At no point does it thread into the rest of the film other than to give Jarvis Cocker (THE FANTASTIC MR FOX) a nice role or to give us the impression that their band was massive at some point.  The dream sequences are flat too and just come across as badly acted University student art ponce boollox . The usually graceful and wonderful Penelope Cruz is left stranded by an awful fantasy role, she only comes alive when the ‘real’ Melodia appears further down the line and turns out to be all too human for Gary. Which is very telling of the type of film this is – it wants it cake and eat it. The main women in it are harpies or fantasy objects, and the men are either depressed dreamers or brainless sex perverts. Everyone here is a cliche.

There’s nothing to recommend here, everybody is punching below their weight and there’s too much lame whimsy that sits uncomfortably with it’s dark, venomous streak. Danny DeVito is good but then he always is, he’s just playing the same wise dude on the sidelines that he’s always played. Gwyneth Paltrow puts in a good dramatic performance but her portrayal as a put upon cow makes you thankful when she’s off screen. My usual complaint that Martin Freeman is too lightweight and dull for leading roles is amplified to the maximum in The Good Night. He’s too flat and the story does him no favours as he coasts along looking mildly vexed throughout. Simon Pegg‘s been better just about everywhere else and it’s strange to see how chubby he used to be when he first began to get noticed. Other familiar faces float in and out; pity Keith Allen (SHALLOW GRAVE) who doesn’t get a single line and the wonderful Meredith MacNeill (CONFETTI) complete at sea in her single scene.

2.5 out of 10 – This should have remained on the shelf. Fans of Freeman and Pegg are best left in the dark as the best that’s on offer here is mild boredom and a weird instrumental version of a famous Blur song that I can’t quite remember. As lively as a night out with my friend Giles and corn than Children of The Corn vol 1 – 7 .

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Martin Freeman: Captain America 3, Funny Cow, The Hobbit – There and Back Again, Svengali, Fargo (TV), The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, Sherlock Holmes (TV), Saving Santa (voice), The World’s End, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), Swinging With The Finkels,  Nativity, Wild Target (2010), Nightwatching, Breaking and Entering,  Hot Fuzz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2006), Love Actually, Confetti, The Low Down, Ali G In Da House, The Office (TV)
  • Simon Pegg: Star Trek 3, Star Wars – The Force Awakens, The Gathering, Mission Impossible 5, Absolutely Everything, Kill Me Three Times, Man Up, The Boxtrolls (voice), Hector and the Search For Happiness, The World’s End, Star Trek 2 (2013), Ice Age 4 (voice) , A Fantastic Fear Of Everything, Mission: Impossible 4, Burke & Hare, Paul, Ice Age 3 (voice), Star Trek (2010), How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, Mission Impossible 3, Run Fat Boy Run, Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead, Guest House Paradiso, Spaced (TV)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow: Mortdecai, Glee (TV), Iron Man 3, Thanks For Sharing, Avengers Assemble, Contagion, Iron Man 2, Two Lovers, Iron Man, Infamous, Proof (2005), Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, Possession, Sylvia, Shallow Hal, The Royal Tenenbaums, Bounce, Duets, The Talented Mr Ripley, Shakespeare In Love, A Perfect Murder, Great Expectations (1998), Sliding Doors, Emma (1996), Hard Eight, Moonlight and Valentino, Se7en, Jefferson In Paris, Mrs Parker and The Vicious Circle, Flesh and Bone, Malice, Hook, Shout
  • Penelope Cruz: The Counselor, I’m So Excited, To Rome With Love, Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, Sex and The City 2, Nine, G-Force (voice), Broken Embraces, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Elegy, Chromophobia, Volver, Bandidas, Sahara, Head In The Clouds, Gothika, Vanilla Sky, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Blow, All The Pretty Horses, Women On Top, All About My Mother, The Hi-Lo Country, If Only, Open Your Eyes, Live Flesh, Belle Epoque, Jamon Jamon
  • Michael Gambon: Fortitdue (TV), Paddington, QuartetThe King’s Speech, Harry Potter – parts 3 to 8, The Book Of Eli, Fantastic Mr Fox (voice), Brideshead Revisited (2008), The Good Shepherd, The Omen (2006), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,  Layer Cake, Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow, Sylvia, Open Range, The Actors, Ali G In Da House, Charlotte Gray, Gosford Park, High Heels and Low Lifes, Sleepy Hollow, The insider, Plunkett & Macleane, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Gambler, Wings Of The Dove, Mary Reilly, The Innocent Sleep, Two Deaths, Nothing Personal, A Man Of No Importance, The Browning Version (1994), Toys, Mobsters, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, A Dry White Season, The Rachel Papers, Paris By Night, The Singing Detective (TV)
  • Meredith MacNeill: Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, Festival, Confetti, Blackball
  • Amanda Abbington: Sherlock (TV), Ghosted
  • Stephen Graham: Hyena, Get Santa, Blood (2013)Best Laid Plans (2012), Boardwalk Empire (TV), This Is England 88 (TV), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Texas Killing Fields, The Season Of The Witch, London Boulevard, The Crew, This Is England 86 (TV), Awaydays, Public Enemies, This Is England, Doghouse, The Damned Utd, Inkheart, Goal, Snatch, Coronation Street (TV), Downtime
  • Keith Allen: Hec McAdam, Blood Shot, The Last Showing, Vinyl, The Magnificent Eleven, De-Lovely, 24 Hour Party People, The Others, Rancid Aluminium, Preaching To The Perverted, Twin Town, Trainspotting, Loch Ness, Blue Juice, Shallow Grave, Second Best, Captives, Beyond Bedlam, The Young Americans. The Comic Strip (TV), Carry On Columbus, Rebecca’s Daughters, Kafka, Making Out (TV), Chicago Joe & The Showgirl, Scandal, The Supergrass
  • Jarvis Cocker: Fantastic Mr Fox (voice)
  • Danny DeVito: The Lorax (voice), Reno 911: Miami, Deck The Halls, Be Cool, Big Fish, Death To Smoochy, Heist (2001), Screwed (2000), Man On The Moon, The Big Kahuna,  The Virgin Suicides, Living Out Loud, The Rainmaker, Hercules (1997) (voice), LA Confidential, Mars Attacks, Space Jam (voice), Mathilda, Get Shorty, Junior, Renaissance Man, Looks Who’s Talking 3 (voice), Jack The Bear, Hoffa, Batman Returns, Other People’s Money, War of the Roses, Twins, Throw Momma From The Train, Tin Men, Ruthless People, Wise Guys, The Jewel of The Nile, Johnny Dangerously, Romancing The Stone, Terms of Endearment, Taxi (TV), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
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