[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004VLKXG0][/pullquote] Following on from the staggering success of Danny Boyle’s breakout film Trainspotting, comes his version of a romantic comedy. Given a much bigger budget, moving the action to the United States and given an a-list female lead meant that the pressure was on Boyle to create a commercially successful film on which he could springboard onto other projects. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he went out and created a unique romantic comedy called A Life Less Ordinary.
Robert Lewis (Ewan McGregor) loses his job, his girlfriend and his home in 24 hours. Full of bitterness, the mild-mannered ex-cleaner decides to confront his old boss and demand his job back. A series of escalating events lead to him kidnapping the boss’ daughter, Celine (Cameron Diaz) and taking her with him on a cross-country escape. Meanwhile in heaven (yes I do mean that Heaven) two angels are sent to push the two souls together in order to retain their place in the Holy ever-after.
As you may well have noticed, this is not your bog-standard romantic comedy. Boyle has always delighted in skewing film genre conventions and in A Life Less Ordinary he really does push the accepted boundaries. Not content with simply including angels in the main plot, he also lets his leads branch of into flights of pure fantasy whilst doing the most normal activities. This is a film that is happy to be off-the-wall, whilst being shot in a very normal way, with static camera angles and standard pans.
It is this juxtaposition of normality and fantasy that provide the films’ strengths and some of it’s biggest flaws. The fantasy elements are exceptionally well done, with some really nice musical montages and a great post-credit scene, sadly they feel too out-of-place and it is difficult to fully immerse yourself in something that is struggling so despserately to be something else. Much like Paul, there’s a great film hidden in here, under layers of run-of-the-mill Hollywood fare. It’s a real shame, because the chemistry between McGregor and Diaz is superb.
A wholly sanitised version of a Danny Boyle film, with all of the edge and much of the humour removed from his previous works, A Life Less Ordinary is a bland, if entertaining romantic comedy.