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Director: Danny Boyle
Cast:
Ewan McGregor
Cameron Diaz
Holly Hunter
Delroy Lindo
Ian Holm

There is a vast chasm between the heart and the head, and sometimes movies fall distinctly in-between; you desperately want to like something for its creativity, but your cynicism gets in the way. This is "A Life Less Ordinary" in a nutshell, a film that seems to collapse under the uncomfortable weight of too many good ideas.

Ewan MacGregor plays a janitor at some faceless corporation, fired and replaced by robots. A bungled confrontation with the CEO leads to the kidnap of his daughter (Cameron Diaz), who must teach Ewan the ways of proper hostaging. Adding to the mix are two angels—really—played by Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo, who must find a way to make the misfits fall in love or else they risk becoming humans. Or something like that.

A lot of the logic gets thrown out the back of a speeding Chevy for the most part of this movie as it careens toward its ultimate destination; you get the feeling filmmaker Danny Boyle (who made his name with "Trainspotting") figured that we would be having too much fun watching Macgregor and Diaz to bother asking the big questions. For a while, he's right—the dialogue is terrific, and the fantasy sequences (including an awesome dance number set to "Beyond the Sea") find Boyle spinning effortless magic.

But pretty soon, the whole thing starts to taste like a bowl full of frosting. It is a hard thing to criticize someone for being too much of a visionary, but there is a lack of a consistent vision in "A Life Less Ordinary" that will soil it for anybody but those who don't require anything sensible at all. With more diversion than direction, this movie may be one of the unfortunate examples of something that would have worked better if it were a little moreordinary after all.

—Ian Williams

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© Copyright 2002 Ian Williams