15/08/2011

COLIN IN COMEDY OR ... WHERE HAS MR DARCY GONE?


It's been some time since I last posted in this series dedicated to my attempt to catch up with the long successful career of Colin Firth. I'm in shameless delay but he is relentlessly overactive! I've chosen to see Mr Darcy lose his "à plomb" and perform in comedy  in two films I hadn't seen yet . I 've seen Colin Firth in two of his recent light roles, as Harry in Mamma Mia (2008) and as Richard in The Accidental Husband (2008). 
Mamma Mia! is the musical, romantic film adaptation of the 1999 musical based on The ABBA's great hits . In the cast, with Colin Firth,  Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.

Set in a dreamy, sunny Greek island, this musical modern fairy - tale tells the story of 20-year-old Sophie 
(Amanda Seyfried) who has been happily grown-up by Donna (Meryl Streep),  her single mother now attempting to run a guest house in her decaying villa, once instead the brilliant lead of the singing trio Dynamos. Sophie is going to marry her boyfriend Sky (Dominic Cooper) and wants to know who her father is. So after reading Donna's diary she sends three invitations to her wedding, to the three men her mother had an affair in the summer before she was born: Irish architect Sam Carmichael ( Pierce Brosnan) , Swedish adventurer and writer Bill Andersson ( Stellan Skarsgård) and British banker Harry Bright (Colin Firth). 
I've never gone into rapture over the ABBA and their music (because, sadly, I can well remember that time when every one of their records would shoot to number one and I was just a small kid who loved singing the hits from the radio and playing vinyl  records) but all those melodies are permanently recorded in my mind and I was hit by fits of nostalgia more than once while watching.  I had had occasion to refresh my memories while travelling through England last month ,  because my friends and I  had a CD including all those ABBA songs in our rented car and we went on humming those easy melodies while driving for miles. 
Not a perfect movie but fast paced and enjoyable, especially under the spell of nostalgia. I particularly appreciated Meryl Streep's volcanic performance and her singing voice. Amanda/Sophie was also very good, natural acting and glorious singing.  Less - much less - I thought of the male protagonists's voices. The four of them are good actors but their voices while singing just didn't fit in my ears and opinion. Well, it was a musical, wasn't it? Actors in a musical are supposed to be good at singing ...

However, on the whole, two very pleasant hours spent smiling and humming. Colin? He was simply lovely as Harry. Not a great challinging role for a great actor like himbut the best bit , which made me laughed out loud, was seeing him sing and sway his hips, in a colourful sparkling 70s-style costume with high heeled shoes. Bizzarre and funny. I loved it.
(You can see and listen to Colin's singing HERE, Our last summer video)

The Accidental Husband is another modern romantic fairy-tale. This time Colin stars with Uma Thurman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. His role is  that  of  Richard, a wealthy publisher who seems interested in marrying successful Dr Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman)  just because they have been on an affair for some time and her new book of love advice promises to be his next best - selling. Emma, who advises  her listeners in a radio programme, seems also very satisfied with their well-established, reassuring menage. Until one day, one of her listeners decides to jilt her fiancé on the brink of their wedding following Emma's advice and the infuriated, rejected Patrick (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) makes up his mind to revenge on Dr Lloyd. 


(spoiler alert!) Colin Firth does his best in his undefinable role as elegant Richard. This character just lets everything happen to him and to the people around him without the least effort to take part in it, without letting anything or anyone really touch him. The most absurd moment is when he understands he has lost Emma's love on their wedding day. What is his reaction? He gives her a brotherly strong hug and says tenderly that  he wants her to be happy. He is a loser and he well deserves it. Maybe my disappointment is make even greater because of my memories of his strong-willed, proud Darcy ("I shall conquer it"!
Again, not the best of Colin's roles,  but this time no fit of nostalgia could help me to enjoy this film more than mildly.  

9 comments:

Meredith said...

I've seen these two as well. It is surprising to learn that Colin did so many romantic comedies - isn't it? I loved Mamma Mia! I'm a big ABBA fan so it was a big hit for me. Meryl Streep was awesome! The guys singing not so much - except for Colin's. I have the soundtrack and I love his voice in "Our Last Summer." He isn't the best at dancing though - still cute to watch him do it though. I loved the Inside the Actors Studio interview he did and his answer to the question: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? And Colin's answer: "I personally thought you were very good in Mamma Mia!" HAHA!

I didn't care for Colin's role so much in the Accidental Husband - the movie was cute, but I like it better when Colin is the leading man!

Traxy said...

I'm a big ABBA fan too and I HATED Mamma Mia! - but JDM and CF in the same film, though ... and it's a romantic comedy? Sounds good to me! :D

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Meredith @Traxy
I didn't remember Colin saying that in the Actors Studio interview (which I saw!) So you see? He did his best but maybe he knows singing and dancing are not among his best talents. Honestly, I loved Mamma Mia, but really when I said about male protagonists a meant them all. Both Colin and Dominic Copper were really in tune but ... I would never buy one of their records. As for The Accidental Husband, it was ... nice but I was really disappointed by Colin's character (not his fault, of course). It is OK to be "the other" but this Richard here was ... insubstantial!
Thank you both, for your comments. And , Traxy, let us know what you think when you get to see TAH!

onemorelurker1 said...

I enjoyed Mamma Mia, loved the songs and story, I agree the men's singing or dancing wasn't the best.
The other I haven't seen, I remember watching the trailer and it didn't get my attention in spite of having CF.

OML :)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@onemorelurker1
Mamma Mia is amusing and enjoyable. The other one is instead rather predictable. So, maybe, you did the right thing avoiding watching it, C.!Thanks for your comment.

lunarossa said...

Ciao bella, Loved every minute of Mamma Mia! To tell the truth I watched it 4 times at the cinema, always with female friends and we had a great time. The first time everybody was dancing and singing in the cinema! Amazing here in the UK! It is such a feel-good movie! And the males were not supposed to be good singers, just fun...Didn't like The Accidental Husband. One time was more than enough...Hope you are enjooyinh your summer...I'm coming down to Italy soon too....Ciao. A.x

Laura said...

Loved Mamma mía. Every bit of it, even the bad singing and dancing. Id like to think it was meant to be that way LOL Pierce Brosnan did a very good job about it.
Anyway, it always makes me wanna sing and dance and shout... Women were brilliant.
About the other one, never watched never mean to. Cant stand the other guy for no particular reason.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@lunarossa
Ciao, A.! My summer is going on most relaxingly. I hope you'll have a good time here in Italy. And you are right. I too sang all the time while watching Mamma Mia ( and I have been re-playing the DVD from time to time these days!), those melodies are contagious! Hugs.
@Laura
Well, Pierce Brosnan's good looks help us to ...forgive and forget. As you said, women were brilliant. Very good! Men were charming and good-looking. Why don't you like J. D. Morgan? I haven't seen much with him, so I can't say much to defend him. I simply didn't like THAT film very much. Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

I've always said you're too kind, MG: you even can find kind things to say about TAH, which is quite impossible IMHO! :)
As a long-time Colin's admirer, I've get used to see him playing "the other one", and love his roles in, say, Shakespeare in Love ot The English Patient, but I can't stand this Accidental Husband: absolutely unsubstantial.
As for Harry Bright, I agree: he's really cute when he sings Our last Summer, and quite fit: look at these looooong legs! :D
The 3 'dads' do their best, even if they can't sing nor dance: have you seen the hilarious end titles, with the latex dance? :-P
xx K/V