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Alex and Emma

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Alex and Emma

Starring: Kate Hudson, Luke Wilson
Director: Rob Reiner
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: June 2003
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Sophie Marceau, David Paymer, Alexander Wauthier, Rip Taylor, Jordan Lund, Lobo Sebastian, Chino XL, Cloris Leachman, Robert Costanzo

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Kate Hudson is Hollywood's newest Golden Girl whose face adorns numerous magazine covers, and sexy Luke Wilson's wry smile has set hearts a-flutter both on and off the screen. So why they chose this only moderately amusing romantic comedy is, indeed, a mystery.

Structured like "Adaptation," but without the orchid-hunter, it's the story of an eccentric writer, Alex (Wilson), whose gambling debts have led to the destruction of his computer and endangered his life. In order to pay off Cuban Mafia thugs in 30 days, he must finish his novel about the powerlessness of being in love. So he hires a stenographer, Emma (Hudson), who has her own ideas about his fictional characters. Soon their life in Boston begins to imitate the art he's creating. Set in 1924, the novel-within-the-movie is about a teacher, Adam (Wilson), who takes a sabbatical from Andover to travel to St. Charles island to tutor the children of a frivolous, French fortune-hunter Polina Delacroix (Sophie Marceau), who finds him fascinating. But he's also attracted to her alluring au-pair (Hudson). Which woman will he choose?

According to director/producer Rob Reiner, screenwriter Jeremy Leven ("The Legend of Bagger Vance") loosely based the idea on the real-life drama that propelled Fyodor Dostoevsky's writing of "The Gambler." Like Alex, Dostoevsky was a bettor who fell in love with his stenographer. In their various incarnations, both Kate Hudson and Luke Wilson are engaging, and I suppose if there hadn't been Charlie Kaufman's "Adaptation," the off-beat concept would have been innovative. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Alex & Emma" is a sweet if insipid 5. A romantic triangle-times-two equals only a moderately captivating date movie.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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