Friday, 18 January 2008

The Good Night - Review by Joseph Wren

Director: Jake Paltrow
Screenwriter: Jake Paltrow
Running Time: 93 mins
Certificate: 15
Released: 18 January

When someone tries telling you about their dreams it’s almost always boring, mainly because they are trying to explain something so purely visual, but without much artistic skill. Dreams on film are particularly difficult to execute, though lately we have seen such daring and inspired gems such as Inland Empire, The Science of Sleep, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Jake Paltrow, he of one of Hollywood’s royal families, takes his feature film debut into the internal beyond, but a Michel Gondry he ain’t. The Good Night follows Gary (Martin Freeman), a depressed former Brit-pop star now slumming it as a commercial jingle scribe in New York City. His marriage to the dour art dealer Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow) has gone sour, and his best mate Paul (Simon Pegg) boasts about his joyful escapades with infidelity. Gary starts having erotic dreams about Penelope Cruz, and becomes so infatuated with this fantasy that he literally insulates himself into his bedroom to achieve an ideal dream state. His obsession leads him to confide in dream guru Mel (Danny DeVito), a broken little man who helps Gary track down his dream girl on the streets of New York.

Not much happens here. The writing, much like Freeman, tries to pass off as empathetic and charming when in fact it’s just a bit ordinary, lacking much vitality. The dreams are largely unremarkable, and watching the stunningly beautiful Cruz go at it with Freeman is a bit ridiculous. The Good Night is a snoozer, with a lot of notable talent left on screen with very little to do. It would have helped if the director would have woken up at some point.

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