Management

Posted by schnolis on May 15th, 2009 filed in Reviews

MANAGEMENTThe Kingman Motor Inn is a typical roadside Motel. It’s not flashy and it’s somewhat clean. Mike (Steve Zahn) works at the Kingman for his parents, who are also the owners. His life is clogged toilets and skimming the pool until Sue (Jennifer Aniston) comes for a two-night stay. She’s atypical in that she’s well dressed and beautiful, or so Mike thinks. He knocks on her door to offer her some complimentary champaign as ruse to be close to her. She sees through this transparent subterfuge, but some small part of her appreciates the attention. When she eventually returns home, Mike begins his pursuit of her.

He flies out to Baltimore, she puts him on a bus home. She comes back to visit, and then he goes back to Maryland again. Only this time she’s gone to Washington state to be with her ex-boyfriend Jango (Woody Harrelson). Jango, the ex-punk yogurt magnate with an obsession for breeding dogs, as a character in another movie, might be novel in a rough sort of way. In this one, he’s the brick wall that diverts the sappy love story off course into an emotional self-actualization movie. And even that’s done badly. There are just terrible stereotypes abused throughout the movie. When Mike needs to reflect on his life, he visits some Buddhist monks who explain their calmness and serenity by saying they’re Buddhist monks, some kind of self-referential word game. It’s just silly.

Eventually Mike halts his pursuit of Sue after he spies on her wedding to Jango. Instead he heads home to take care of his family, and starts putting some of his Buddhist training to good use. When he fixes everyone else’s problems and even some of his own, he decides it’s time to make peace with Sue. He finds out from Jango she has moved back to her mother’s place in Maryland. He tries one last time to get her back, and with the personal growth they’ve both sustained, their relationship might just work.

What I liked: Some of the affection was cute; Mike and Sue shared a juvenile affection that wasn’t entirely unpleasant. It reminded me of my own youth, some 15 or 20 years ago. Both characters grew up because of each other.

What I disliked: My biggest complaint of Management is inconsistency. A director must make choices for a film to be a success, and Stephen Belber didn’t make any good ones. The first half of the film is a dorky, silly comedy, but the latter half ditches all the laughs for a dramatic conclusion. I really have no preference as to which movie should have been made, but I’m fairly certain it should have been one or the other. In my opinion, the second half worked a lot better, but had no emotional foundation that lets me care about the conclusion. Another problem was casting. Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston are too old for these roles. I could not accept in my head that 40+ year-olds could act so completely like teenagers.

Rating: 3 of 10

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