Rewatched Aug 27, 2012
Mike D'Angelo’s review:
Wrote a fairly lengthy review at the time, in which I came down perhaps a little too hard on Ms. Hjejle—Laura's ordinariness, for lack of a better word, is not just intentional but crucial, as this is, somewhat incredibly, a light Hollywood comedy about the fine art of settling. Friends of mine argued back then that Hornby and/or the movie are too soft on Rob, but while it's not a scathing portrait, neither does it let him off the hook; there's a ghoulish sort of hilarity in his delusional celebrations when women tell him things he ought to be shamed by, culminating with the use of "We Are the Champions" after Laura says she hasn't slept with Ian/Ray ("yet") but that she definitely prefers sleeping beside him. Rob hears what he wants to hear, and it's no accident that the film's final image sees him clapping gigantic headphones back over his ears, reverting to the state in which we initially find him. It's a "happy ending" borne of weariness and lethargy, which qualifies as downright subversive outside the context of a hardcore art film. At the same time, however, the movie is often more illustrated novel than cinema, relying heavily on blurted interior monologue; Cusack makes it work, for the most part, but you can feel that you're getting the material secondhand. Biggest surprise: A dozen years of Jack Black working his shtick doesn't diminish the rude energy of his breakthrough role in the slightest. Words to live by: "How can it be bullshit to state a preference?"