Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sneak Preview Alert!
If you see this from now on, that means this review is for an unreleased movie.


Last night I went and saw a test screening of a film called "Synergy," director Paul Weitz's (American Pie, About a Boy) attempt to direct a film without brother director Chris Weitz.

The film revolves around middle-aged Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), who is in charge of the sales division for a sports magazine. Life seems to be going smoothly for Dan. His wife (Marg Helgenberger) runs an efficient household, and his daughter (Scarlett Johansson) is an up and coming tennis pro. But when their company merges with a much larger, much hipper company, Dan is demoted and his life is thrown into the spin cycle. A new, younger and complete opposite version of him played by Topher Grace has now taken his job and is invading every inch of his work and family life. This film is about discovering what's important to you, and how even the wrong decision can turn out to be the right one.

The thing that writer/director Paul Weitz seems to do well is write characters. They could be the sexually frustrated teenage angst filled characters like in "American Pie," or the morally confused characters in "About a Boy." This film is not alone then with it's quirky counterparts. Still, I do think the absence of Chris Weitz affected the film and story. The film seemed choppy, and the characters never actually evolved into what Paul Weitz was obviously trying to accomplish. The problem was balance between the two main characters Quaid and Grace. Both people were supposed to be growing and changing, but by the end you only feel like Grace accomplished anything and Quaid was left in the dust. This was certainly not what was meant to happen. But because of editing and focus, you are certainly left feeling that way.

Still, I am hard pressed to say this is just your average popcorn flick. In fact I believe that it is an above average film when you look at all the wannabe good films out there right now. The film is well acted, and while the stories formula might be old hat, the way it is played out is certainly not.

Release Date: December 29, 2004


(out of 4)