WAITING FOR FOREVER Movie Review
I suppose it can be fun to see a bad movie. Something that just doesn’t hit the mark, and is unintentionally funny, like “Leprechaun 2,” or “Battlefield Earth,” or “Avatar.” (ok, I’m kind of kidding about that last one. Kind of.)
But what do you do when you are faced with a movie that is somehow in actual theatrical release, and has all of the traditional elements of a real movie, yet is such a mess as to be unwatchable? Here’s what: you avoid it, and read the review instead! This is the advice I suggest you follow if you’re considering seeing WAITING FOR FOREVER.
This lamentable misfortune of a movie has no idea what it wants to be, though it bills itself as a romantic drama. Is that what it is? Or it is a lighthearted dramedy? A murder thriller? A stalker story?
It’s creepy right out of the gate: the story of “Willie” (Tom Sturridge) who was childhood friends with Emma (Rachel Bilson), who later becomes a TV actress; then he spends years – years! – following her around the country, to every city she moves to, but never saying so much as “hello” to her. Because that’s what you do when you’re in love with someone. It’s cute, right? Endearing? Hello? No. This is not cute. Stalkerazzi, anyone? Major creepsters!
Add to this mix a truly terrible performance by Sturridge, who with his American accent talks like the 90-IQ version of Ryan Phillippe with a wad of chewing gum in his mouth. It left me wondering: is this character supposed to be mentally challenged? No. Couldn’t be. Could it? Could it?? At the very least, it made me constantly worry that he was capable of accidentally harming the otherwise charming Bilson at any time.
Which leads me to my biggest revelation in watching this Waiting For Forever: if you changed the score from the generically cheesy romantic dramedy track to something more ominous and sinister, and changed the ending (slightly!), you could actually have a pretty decent indie horror/thriller stalker movie.
That’s how unintentionally creepy it is.
Actor/director James Keach, who made his mark directing a lot of TV (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “The Young Riders,” “The District”) seems well out of his depth here. And what in the world is a 63 year old dude doing directing a story about a bunch of 20-somethings anyway? The whole thing feels off.
How bad a job do you have to do to direct a poor performance out of Emma’s parents, the usually stellar Richard Jenkins and Blythe Danner? In one scene, the sometimes-bedridden–with-mysterious-illness, sometimes-not Jenkins is taking a bath with Danner sitting tubside, the dutiful wife and mother weeping over her daughter’s bad relationship drama, when Jenkins looks her straight in the eye and says, “You have the ugliest expression in the world on your face right now.” She ends up screaming at him and beating him with a towel for being so awful to her, before he hugs her and tells her he’s just being a douchebag so she’ll “be strong after I’m gone.” I almost threw my drink at the screen.
Don’t even get me started on Emma’s psycho ex/back together/ex-again boyfriend subplot. Ugh. What I could have done with those 90 minutes. Built part of a birdhouse. Written in my diary. Watched “Millionaire Matchmaker” one and a half times.