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on 5 February 2014
Having watched the extra features, which are mostly interviews with cast & crew, I`m happy they all had such a ball making this enjoyable, undemanding film. Therein perhaps lies the problem.
I loved Sideways, and I recently saw the wonderful Nebraska, both directed by the obviously affable, hugely capable Alexander Payne, so I expected this to pack a little more of a dramatic punch. That it doesn`t says as much, I suppose, about my expectations as it does about this pleasant, sometimes engrossing film.
It certainly takes its time getting going! The early scene-setting barely keeps the attention. Not a great start, but things do improve.
Clooney plays a a guy with two daughters whose straying wife is in hospital in a terminal coma. Shailene Woodley, nineteen at the time it was made, is excellent as the elder of the two daughters, and Amara Miller in her first film role is equally as good as her amusingly fractious younger sister. (Both are remarkably eloquent in the afore-mentioned interviews; they obviously had a fine old time, and loved having gorgeous George the prankster as their dad.)
There are effective cameos from Beau Bridges (with his long fair hair looking more like brother Jeff) and Judy Greer, who is very good as the onetime cheating wife`s lover`s wife - got that?
Clooney is as watchable as he usually is, but by heaven he coasts through this film, one eye no doubt on the gorgoeus Hawaiian scenery around him, not to mention the pleasures of the evidently relaxed shoot. There are times when you just know this is a man acting, turning on the tears or ruffled concern when the director says "Action". Clooney gives a lot to his roles, but he`s only just credible here as a cuckolded property developer with two errant kids.
That said, this is worth seeing, the Hawaiian music is wonderful - I must get the soundtrack CD - and the whole thing looks a treat.
Is it one of Payne`s better efforts? Is it hell!