GOOD NIGHT, THE: DVD
Gary (Martin Feeman) is an English musician making a living these days with jingles for TV commercials, and in a deteriorating relationship with his live-in girlfriend Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow). His former band member friend Paul (Simon Pegg) is his producer, whose relationship with girlfriend Terry (Amber Sealy) is pretty well broken. In the midst of his despair, Gary begins to have dreams about a beautiful woman, Anna (Penelope Cruz), who showers him with attention and affection. She is always dressed in stylish, sexy white outfits and sometimes there are more than one of her. Keen to hang on to this fantasy rather than deal with Dora's diminishing view of him, he takes a course in lucid dreaming with low life guru Mel (Danny DeVito). But when Gary sees Anna's face in a poster ad, he is desperate to meet her - something his friend Paul can arrange. But real life - in which she is called Melody - does not follow the pattern of his dreams.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Book ended by characters talking to camera in a doco style (for a book launch, as it happens), The Good Night is told in flashback, but the device has a very low pay off. As we switch to the story proper, we meet an unlikeable trio in the loser Gary (Martin Freeman), his dreary, whining girlfriend Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow in a long, dark brown wig) and his morally bankrupt friend Paul (Simon Pegg). The comedic elements are insufficient to turn their slanging matches into genuine humour, and as we fast lose any interest in them, their plight becomes rather uninteresting.
Penelope Cruz, always interesting on screen, makes a fabulous object of male fantasy as Anna and the dream sequences are at least simple and entertaining. But once we meet her in real life as Melody, it's a different matter. This is valid enough, but it means there's not a single likeable character left. Nor does the comedy compensate.
There is, however, one highlight, and that's Danny DeVito's Mel, a grubby, balding, fast talking and self centred and self-appointed guru of 'lucid dreaming' whose classes are held ina rundown space shared with a ballet class and a martial arts class. These short scenes are energised and fun, as is the wonderful scene at his ramshackle pad, piled with the collected detritus of a sad little man whose insight into his own deficiency gives him endless misery. DeVito is at once entertaining and pathetic, but at least there is something going on whenever he is on screen.
Gary the musician finally has to chose between his dream woman and his Dora, whose art gallery serves as the resolution venue, with Gary playing his new composition. A new melody to take the place of Melody? But it's a bit schamlzy, and the film's ending is a bit contrived.
Published October 2, 2008
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GOOD NIGHT, THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Penelope Cruz, Martin Feeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Simon Pegg, Danny DeVito, Sonia Doubell, Michael Gambon, Stephen Graham
PRODUCER: Dona Gigliotti, Bill Johnson
DIRECTOR: Jake Paltrow
SCRIPT: Jake Paltrow
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Giles Nuttgens
EDITOR: Rick Lawley
MUSIC: Alec Puro
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Eve Stewart
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
DVD RELEASE: September 17, 2008