Review by James Lindorf
Director and writer Jamie Adams (Black Mountain Poets) partnered with Unstoppable Entertainment to develop his latest project, Alright Now, which will be released in the US on September 7th. Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Avengers) stars as Joanne Skye, a 90s rock icon who drunkenly enrolls in college after she breaks up with her boyfriend and her band falls apart on the same day.
Alright Now is about the dichotomy of life, figuring out who you’ve been, who you are, who you want to be and what it means to fall in love. After her life of sex, drugs and rock & roll comes to an end, Joanne turns to the one place she thinks she can get all of those things while still reinventing herself—college. Unfortunately, there is more depth in the ideas presented in the script than what was on the screen. Instead of a woman deep in the throes of an existential crisis, it serves as a veneer for a fairly typical romantic comedy.
It would be utterly uninspired if it weren’t for the fact that Adams decided to swap the stereotypical gender roles for his story. In most films, Smulders would be playing the mousey college registrar, and Richard Elis (EastEnders) would be the aging rock star with a touch of Peter Pan Syndrome. The best element of the movie was the chemistry of Smulders and Elis. The moments when she brings him up and he calms her down were easily my favorite parts.
When Peter (Elis) isn’t there or is unable to calm her down, Joanne is almost insufferable, which is still head and shoulders above Jessica Hynes’ (Shaun of the Dead) Sara. Hynes plays Joanne’s best friend who is socially awkward, drug-addled and potentially mentally challenged. Hynes played the character well, but her incoherent rambling provides nothing to the story. The girls who share Joanne’s dorm floor and Peter’s character feel the most like real people. Joanne is an archetype that we’ve seen dozens of times. I don’t know what Sara was.
How you feel about this movie will depend on how you feel about Joanne and Peter. If you like them and their relationship, you should love Alright Now. If you don’t like them, you may find yourself looking for something else to watch.
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