In The Rewrite Hugh Grant is Keith Michaels, a man who several years ago won a Best Screenplay Oscar. However his last few films have flopped and he’s lost his way. He agrees to teach screenwriting at an East Coast college, where he intends to do as little work as possible. However the college has other ideas, forcing him to actually engage with his students.
Keith finds himself getting closer to a single mother in his class, Holly (Marisa Tomei), whose plain-spoken wisdom cuts through all of his Hollywood bull. Despite his initial disdain for the whole idea of teaching, Keith begins to find value in what he’s doing.
Actors and directors often like to team up on multiple movies, but Marc Lawrence has something of a Hugh Grant obsession, as he’s never actually helmed a film that didn’t have the British star in the lead. However while this is a step up from their last collaboration, the astonishingly awful Did You Hear About The Morgans, it’s not as good as either Two Weeks Notice or Music & Lyrics.
The problem with The Rewrite isn’t that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with it, it’s just that there’s not a vast amount particularly right either. It’s a film that’s essentially on autopilot, ambling along to fill the necessary story and character points of a Hollywood romantic comedy, without deviating for a second of finding anything to really breathe life into it.
It’s okay and if you’re looking for something almost painfully inoffensive, this will fit the bill, but if you’re hoping that it’ll create a romantic mood and lift your heart, you’re out of luck. There are a few good lines and Marisa Tomei is great, but other than that, the word that can probably best sum it up is ‘bland’.
It’s slightly unfortunate as there is plenty of potential here and both Grant and Lawrence have shown previously they can do this sort of thing well, but Hugh in particular feels like he’s going through the motions (perhaps he’s now more interested in bringing down the press than acting). He’s not bad, but he just doesn’t seem all that bothered about being there.
Overall Verdict: ‘It’s ok, I suppose’ is the sort of damning with faint praise response The Rewrite is likely to engender. Tomei is extremely good, but beyond that it’s a bland, going through the motions like a clockwork rom-com.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac