"Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"
Directed by Bharat Nalluri.
Written by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy. Based on the
novel by Winifred Watson.
Starring Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace and Ciarán Hinds.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 3/6/08
Utterly predictable and featuring a
performance by Amy Adams that will grate on even those who consider
themselves her biggest fans, "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" is
strangely watchable, pleasantly palatable and even a tad romantic
thanks to great performances by Frances McDormand and Ciarán Hinds.
The film, based on a novel by Winifred
Watson, stars McDormand as Guinevere Pettigrew, a governess so bad
at her job that her employment agency has decided on this bitter day
that they will not give her any more chances to earn a wage as a
nanny. Snatching up a customer's business card on her way out
the door, she jumps in front of another agency governess and arrives
at the home of one Delysia Lafosse (Adams), who is in need of the
services of a nanny on this particular day not because she has
children running around or a dirty home needing a cleaning...no,
Delysia is in need because she is juggling three different men in
her life and she's faced with some big decisions today...and, by the
end of it, she's only got to decide between which man will be her
future, how she'll earn money in London and where the hell she's
going to live!
"Miss Pettigrew" is a slow starter, one that
introduces its over-the-top style by giving us a bit too much of
Adams, who has now played a shade of this character in every film
she has appeared in. But, once it finds its way, the film is
occasionally pretty funny, and the mix of both the Pettigrew
character and Delysia's stylings make for a fun mix once we get
about a half-hour into things. The men in Delysia's life,
played by Lee Pace (from that TV show "Pushing Daisies"), Mark
Strong and Tom Payne, all seem positively jolly throughout their
respective screen time, and we're not forced to swallow too much in
the way of romantic comedy elements...no, this is more
slapstick/vaudeville, mixed with the occasional witty line to keep
things jumpin'. It worked, and as a man that normal is
twitching in his seat during these kinds of film exercises, even I
had to admit that I was having a good time.
The movie isn't great; in fact, I'm guessing
that the decision to have a guy who directed "The Crow: Salvation"
(the second "Crow" sequel) meant that the producers were only ever
shooting for something mildly entertaining and witty, and in "Miss
Pettigrew", they got it. It becomes hilarious how small the
world of the movie London gets by the end of things; you just keep
waiting for Miss Pettigrew to run into her love interest, Joe
(Hinds), and many of the comedic elements drew only mild chuckles
from our audience tonight. But, take your family, spend $7 for
a matinee showing, and enjoy; that is a lock!
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$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
"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 bad...man, 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
"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