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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Retro Review: I Love Trouble (1994)

I Love Trouble
Cast: Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte, Saul Rubinek, Robert Loggia, Eugene Levy, Dan Butler 
Genre: Romantic Comedy
US Lifetime Gross: $30,806,194

Plot: Worn down Peter Brackett (Nick Nolte) and ambitious Sabrina Peterson (Julia Roberts) are reporters working for rival newspapers. Assigned to cover a train derailment, the two journalists meet at the scene and immediately can't stand each other. But when they suspect a deadly government conspiracy behind the crash, the two rivals work together to break the story. While they expose corrupt scientists and butt heads every step of the way, Peter and Sabrina's competitive tiffs turn into romance

'Having A Miscast Actor As A Love Interest Spells Trouble For This Movie'

I Love Trouble is your typical- yet below average rom- com with an investigative twist, but it is a rom-com that would've worked much better with a better male lead. In addition to having an improved script. It tries to be a part-conspiracy-based movie interwoven within a rom-com context, but hardly offers anything interesting or exciting to remotely satisfy it. 

Peter Brackett is an over-confident, womanising veteran reporter for the Chicago Chronicle with a new book that he has released. He is told to cover a train crash and is scooped by a young journalist, Sabrina Peterson who works for a rival newspaper, Chicago Globe. They have to put their professional rivalry on hold when a conspiracy puts them in danger and in putting their trust into one another, leads to the pair falling in love. & that is just one part of the movie's problem: the casting choices for the leads. Or be it the male lead. 

The problems with this film don't just run into the movie itself, but that Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts were reported to have not got on well with each other on set, resulting in a much publicised and notorious feud that was well documented by the media. Julia even went on record to say he is the worst actor she has worked with. But alas, I felt the idea of pairing Julia Roberts up with Nick Nolte as a ladies man was bizarre, and a complete miscast altogether. Nolte might be the more experienced pro compared to Julia Roberts in the acting stakes, but here, he was just not the right choice for this particular vehicle; he looked uncomfortable and out of place and he is/was too old to play her love interest.

Watching these two on screen I wasn't convinced by either of their characters attempts at falling for each other. If their characters were just friends without any romantic endeavour of any kind, I'd be okay with that. But that fact that they got together, made me squirm. Literately. The chemistry between those two was odd. I just didn't buy into it. It was one of the strangest - and may I add worst movie screen pairings and it was uncomfortable to see them struggle through the material. Neither Julia or Nick were cut-out for their roles and it didn't help also that the script was mediocre. Julia Roberts had chemistry with Richard Gere in Pretty Woman - even though I cannot stand that film, had chemistry with Robin Williams in Hook....but Nick Nolte? It was all too apparent this (oddball) romantic coupling relationship based on a 26 year age difference- let's be clear that he was 50- something and she was 20- something (*gag*) at the time of filming - was pretty much dead in the water as the film progressed and thus, it literally sank it. I barely smiled when I sat through it. Chemistry was either borderline non-existent, or it just seemed so fake and not so genuine, whatsoever. The Nolte/Roberts partnership was as mismatched as eating a bowl of cheerios with strawberry flavoured milk. No, make that with out of date strawberry flavoured milk. 

The two characters argue, bicker, clash and engage in smart-talk banter, which amounts to very little. There is some action in this movie, which is an excuse to give the actors something to do, other than to utter their lines but it's a bare minimum. 

Other than that, however, this film is beyond mediocre and failed attempt as a throwback to screwball comedy, so blandly tedious and is one of the worst movies Julia Roberts has been involved in. How she ever went from the excellence of The Pelican Brief of the previous year to this excuse of rom-com tripe, is really strange. 

The script is not particularly amusing for a romantic comedy, nor as a classic in its attempts to emulate the tone and feel of 1940s screwball comedies. And when it tries to focus on the narrative, it's so laboured and boring. The acting felt flat too. The dialogue lacks spark and when I read it was over 2 hours long, it was the final straw. I felt like the movie was one long chore, one scene after the other and by the time it runs out of steam, I eventually gave up. And speaking of the comedy in a rom-com, there was a distinct lack of that also. 

If the film took away the romantic subplot and have it function as a mystery investigative type of movie, it would have been better for Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. Then again given their animosity towards each other on set, perhaps not. 


Pros +

- Film looks nice


- The miscasting of Nick Nolte as the love interest

- Mismatch of Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte

- Wholly unfunny, romantic subplot didn't work because of the odd casting 

- Chemistry, what chemistry?

- Terrible & nothing script 

Final Verdict:

For a romantic comedy, I Love Trouble is a total bore and bland to boot; it is utterly unimaginative, lifeless and lacking any sort of charm and wit. & thankfully, I can see why Julia Roberts wants to forget about it. But the miscasting of Nick Nolte as her love interest really threw a spanner in the works: with a better, perhaps younger and credible choice of actor in place of Nick Nolte as the male lead, it would have made the film more bearable & entertaining. Lauded as a complete misfire and turkey in many respects, it is an example of how poor casting choices can ultimately affect one's opinion of a movie, in addition to that every other single thing about it is a total fail. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, this offering fails to amuse, satisfy, interest, excite and entertain me at every single level the movie was trying to aim towards. 

I Love Trouble is generally mediocre in movie terms, but as a romantic comedy-to-be, due to the ineffective (and more so) male, and female leads, it is beyond ghastly awful and is, unfortunately, another addition to my bad Julia Roberts movies list.  


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