Thursday, August 30, 2007


Vacancy, the new romantic comedy from foreigner Nimród Antal, isn’t quite as romantic as the ads might lead you to believe. What’s being billed as something of a cozy late night getaway between a married couple (Luke Wilson & Kate Beckinsale), actually falls more on the side of a Lifetime movie. David & Amy Fox have recently lost their child in some horrible “disease of the week” kind of affair, and in an effort to rejuvenate the waning passion of their relationship, they decide to take a trip to the idyllic countryside.

Out in the sticks, they find numerous pleasant distractions including -- but not limited to -- a kindly, flirtatious motel manager (Frank Whaley) who begins to court Amy. A jealous David seeks solace in their room’s erotic video collection. Before long there’s much dashing about and David much choose his wife or porn and Amy must choose true love or flowery romance. Vacancy seems to be headed for obvious reconciliation -- however the ending is more of surprise than I signed on for. Highlight the following for a massive spoiler: The Foxes split up at the end!

The Foxes are very likable characters and although the actors have some wonderful chemistry, ultimately I began to tire of their madcap brand of sweetness – farce and romance can be mixed successfully (Coupling always does it well), but you can’t throw a deceased child into the mix and have it comedically play out. It just doesn’t work. Whaley in particular was far too nice of a man and I really felt sorry for what happens to the guy as he was deserving of love. While the videos David watches in the room (repeatedly) definitely got me hot and bothered (heck, it’s almost worth recommending the movie just for those sequences alone), they really had no place in a PG-13 rated film such as this one (nor did Luke Wilson's ass). On the plus side, the script offers up quite a bit of sparkling dialogue and the wit is of a near "Three Stoogesque" caliber. And if you’re looking for a satisfying ending, Vacancy has not just one or two rooms open for business, but the entire motel.

This was The Rued Morgue's (belated) contribution to Lazy Eye Theatre's Bizarro Blog-a-thon.