Novels and screenplays often mix like oil and water. The book can be brilliant, deep and insightful. The screenplay and movie ends up scratching the surface. They miss key points or worse - because screenplay writers much of the time lack the balls to go for it - have an altered plot for audience gratification and a better box office take.
Then there are novelists that decide they ought to write their own screenplays. Novel writing and screenplay writing are another oil and water scenario. The novelist, familiar with the characters, their lives and what happens to them, often forgets the viewer doesn't know all of the in depth details.
Those seeing the movie and have read the book can fill in the blanks but the rest of us can't. This may be what happened to David Nicholls' hit book turned movie One Day.
Here's the gist of Nicholls' novel and screenplay. On July 15, 1988, Anne Hathaway's Emma meets and almost beds Jim Sturgess' Dexter. Every year for the next 20, and on that date, you catch up with the two characters as they catch up with each other.
To begin with, they decide to not have sex and just be friends. A confusing scene later, you're a year or so in the future and they're best pals. He travels and becomes a TV star, she flounders. Eventually, she becomes a teacher and then a best-selling author.
His career and life tank.
Unfortunately, at least in the movie version, their stories aren't that interesting, and you don't connect with either of them. So a third of the way through One Day, you start mentally start clicking off how many years are left before 2011.
In one scene, we are told a boyfriend of Anne Hathaway's character left. At that point, I'm envious. How come he gets to leave and I have to stay? Life can be so unfair.
My rant fits this dreadful and even at 108 minutes, dreadfully long pity party.
It's hard to care about a drunk and drug abuser who carries around major baggage while becoming a famous celebrity as a pop/disco show host on TV. She's easier to like but also has baggage. Really in love with him, Hathaway's Emma is forced to settle down with the most boring man on the planet.
While the two lead actors aren't a great fit for the flick, this guy is perfect. He's almost as boring as this movie.
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, August 19 at Regal's Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself