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Jessica Goes Mainstream: A Daring Experiment

I was in the need for new films to watch, so I hit alluc and skimmed the pages for something worth seeing. Where was the foreign film section? Or the independent releases? There was nothing of the sort, but desperate times call for depserate measures, so I decided to take a brave sojourn into a realm I, perhaps snobbishly, haven't frequented for many years now: films that actually played in the big cineplex in every local town, that got advertised on bus stops, that were reviewed in Heat magazine. I was going mainstream! And here are the results, with suitably unoriginal popcorns out of 5...

Stranger Than Fiction
This had the pull of lovely Brit Emma Thompson and quirky-mainstream Maggie Gyllenhaal, but the presence of Will Ferrell didn't put me at ease - Anchorman has to be one of the most over-rated cult hits, although it's not quite as horrendous as Napoleon Dynamite. I liked the tone of Stranger Than Fiction, and the idea of the plot was good, although they didn't even attempt to explain how Emma Thompson's character's character had come to life. We were meant to just accept that it had happened, as was she, clearly, as her disturbance about this event only seemed to last a few minutes of exclaiming "your nose! your jumper!" etc. There was also a bit of a leap of faith with the idea that Maggie's character would fall for Harold Crick. I did enjoy the film, though, and recommend it as long as you don't want to dissect it too deeply!

The other Gyllenhaal takes the lead role in this extremely lengthy crime drama, and it's probably his most mature role yet - I remember him as the cute teenager in The Day After Tomorrow, and here he is with children of his own. I can't say I've watched many crime films before, so I enjoyed this as a new experience, even if a friend had already told me the ending (and it is a true story so I guess quite a lot of viewers would know it already). There were a few disgusting moments, as the crime being investigated was a serial killer, but the plot remained interesting (complicated but still easy enough to understand) and only on a few occasions did I find myself drifting off.

Failure To Launch
I was intrigued by this because I've wanted to see the original French version for a while and haven't yet had chance, so I suppose this is second best. I was dubious at the beginning but I did get into it more as I went along. It's a very simple romantic comedy in a strange situation - think Along Came Polly, Two Weeks Notice, or most similar of all, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, which also starred Matthew McConaughey and a blonde lady trying to trick him and trying not to fall in love with him. I won't tell you whether Sarah Jessica Parker succeeds in either of those tasks, but you can probably guess most of the film without seeing it. Still, the predictability is quite comforting and while this film didn't make my brain whir even once, this was quite a good thing after a week of exams.

I have to say this 'going mainstream' has been quite enjoyable overall, although this may be because I skipped past so many films I couldn't even bear to attempt to watch before settling on these slightly more appealing options. It was fun, though, and I'll probably do it again some time soon.