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"An Ideal Husband"

Directed by Oliver Parker.
Written by Oliver Parker.  Based on the play by Oscar Wilde.
Starring Rupert Everett, Minnie Driver, Cate Blanchett, and Julianne Moore.
Release Year:  1999 
Review Date:  7/6/99


Hope that everyone had a sweaty, hot, sweaty, and sweaty holiday weekend. Yesterday, to beat some of the heat, I went to see another movie!!

Every so often I stray from the beaten path and check out a movie with a bit more culture or taste.  "An Ideal Husband" stars Rupert Everett, Minnie Driver, Cate Blanchett, and Julianne Moore in a turn-of-the-century romantic comedy about the most eligible bachelor in London (Everett from "My Best Friend's Wedding" and the upcoming "Inspector Gadget") and his mishaps with finding a wife.

I thought it was pretty funny--I got into the polite British humor that makes this PG-rated flick tick.  And, because it's polite, that means that, as "Libstick" Hiller pointed out, "It's good clean family fun."  This is that movie that you can take grandma and grandpa to and not worry about offending anyone.  That doesn't mean that it is boring--that just means that none of the characters talks to an oversize clitoris in the middle of a USO concert (see past SMRs for reference).

The costumes and the sets are lavishly designed, as any period piece should be.  And, the acting is very strong from all of the principals, with strong support from Blanchett's on-screen husband and Everett's on-screen father.  The pace is very good and the movie runs at about 100 minutes--I didn't keep checking my watch wondering what the hell was going on.

Weaknesses?  Well, the subplot which drives the movie early on, involving Blanchett's husband and a scandalous business affair from years ago, took away from what I thought was supposed to be the main story:  Everett and his wife-hunting.  But, even that is resolved in a funny way at the end of the movie.  And, Julianne Moore's by-the-book-bitch character just didn't hit with me.  She was ruthless, but she softens up near the end, and that didn't make sense to me.

But, overall, a great, easy-on-the-mind movie for the summer.

Rating:  $7.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09