November 24, 2018

Alex and the List (2018)

Patrick Fugit, Jennifer Morrison

Look, it's a never a good sign when there are a bunch of famous people in a recently-released movie you've never heard of. I know this. And yet...I watched it. Because I made poor life decisions, apparently.

So basically, this is a story about a guy who's dating someone we're meant to believe is "out of his league." She then proves this by providing him with a list of things he needs to change about himself before she can seriously consider marrying him.

Some are superficial and stupid, like whitening his teeth or changing his wardrobe. Petty, but whatever. Plenty of people in relationships coax their significant other to change their appearance. We can argue about whether or not that's acceptable at a later time.

Others are obviously thrown in to paint her as excessively materialistic and shallow, like her telling him he needs to drive an expensive car and get a new job. And still others are just flat out stupid, like her requirement that he love football to please her dad. Not simply watch it--LOVE it.

Whew. Where to start. First of all, I suppose I should say kudos to the writer of this movie for subverting the abusive boyfriend trope by making the girlfriend low-key emotionally abusive. They went above and beyond the usual "nagging" and waded into a field absolutely chock full of red flags. I mean, who would seriously consider changing basically everything about themselves unless they already had some major self-esteem issues? (Which, you know, fine if they do, but then this would be a very different movie) But somehow, the worst part of all of it is that he doesn't even consider fulfilling the list until he sees a hot guy moving in on his girlfriend. So he's apparently just as shallow and petty.

So, all of this terrible plot, mixed with Gilles Marini pretending to Italian, a Russian sex chat girl, and trying to convince us Patrick Fugit is lovable because he trains dogs, is A LOT. Like, added-every-idea-that-came-up-in-the-writers-room lot. But I can't help but give kudos for writing a romantic comedy that is neither romantic or funny, at literally any point in the movie. It takes skill to write something this terrible and still convince established actors to star in it.

Final word: I can't ever un-see this movie, which is the real tragedy.

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