On October 15, 2014

The Movie Diary: Don’t worry, be happy

By Dom Cioffi

Last week I went to see the number one movie in the country, “Gone Girl,” starring Ben Affleck. I, along with most other folks, was riveted by the intriguing storyline about a suburban couple facing a physically and psychologically damaging situation.

Affleck did a fine job portraying the bewildered husband (mostly because the role fell firmly within his acting wheelhouse) and further secured himself as a top Hollywood talent (despite the legions of people who can’t get past his “Gigli” phase).

But the real driver of the story and the absolute star of the movie was Rosamund Pike, a little known English actress who has only worked in a handful of notable films.

I was not only impressed with Pike’s subtle ability to theatrically transform during the film, but also transfixed by her beauty. In fact, I was so captivated by her looks and performance that I immediately researched her upon returning home from the theater.

I read about her childhood and education in Britain, her past films, and her personal life. I will even admit to Googling her images to see photos of her through various movie incarnations.

By the end of my research, I was experiencing all the signs of a legitimate boyhood crush. Rosamund Pike had  officially become my new “it” girl.

That night I laid in bed and imagined that Rosamund and I had met one another.

Perhaps she was in New York for a premiere party when her agent suggested that she drive up to the mountains of Vermont for some well deserved soul searching (since her career was obviously about to explode).

As she made her way through Killington, she decided to stop for gas and some munchies. Since the sun was shining and the air was crisp, she opted to grab a copy of a local newspaper that she found in a nearby rack and sit outside to read.

She flipped through the pages, admiring the array of events and activities being highlighted, reminiscing about her own autumnal experiences as a child back in England.

She then happened upon a local movie review column and after noticing that it was featuring her new film, decided to give it a read.

She was initially confused by the format, but became more and more intrigued as she followed the author’s bizarre fantasy about the two of them meeting. In fact, she was so taken by the tale that she immediately emailed him to request a face-to-face engagement for later that night.

He was initially skeptical by the email, but a phone call from her publicist an hour later confirmed the story.

He was obviously nerved up by the prospect, but knew – at the very least – that this would make for a great column the following week.

They met for a drink that night and after a short explanation about his column’s history and unique approach, she agreed to continue the evening over dinner.

What started as intrigue for the rising movie star had now blossomed into full fledged curiosity. She pondered his charisma and deft conversational skills; she commented on his stunning good looks and exceptional posture; she was mesmerized by his lack of pretense and humbled by his artistic prowess.

By the end of the dinner she was acting like a giddy schoolgirl and requesting that he accompany her back to Hollywood for an upcoming gala premiere and star-studded after-party.

She even agreed to set up a meeting with Harvey Weinstein so he could pitch his long-shelved screenplay about a middle-aged guy who kidnaps a rising movie star just to get his script read by a big-time Hollywood producer.

All of this was immensely tempting for the columnist. After all, she was beautiful, rich, famous and the talk of Tinseltown. What more could he ask for?

He ushered her to her car and said he needed the night to think things over.

After he returned home, he decided to do what he always does when he needs to make a major decision: go to the movies.

By chance he noticed that Rosamund Pike was also starring in another new release currently in theaters: “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” What serendipity!

He went with great expectations, hopeful that his new “it” girl would further his assumption that she was the best up-and-coming actress in the world and that she could single-handedly carry any motion picture.

And then the fantasy crumbled.

Based on the popular book, “Hector and the Search for Happiness” follows one man’s search for the truth about feeling good. Unfortunately, while the idea was sound and full of potential, the execution was muddled and far from realized.

And as good as Rosamund Pike may have been in “Gone Girl” (good enough to get an Oscar nod in this reviewer’s opinion), she’s not good enough to salvage a weak script, nor the weak character that she was ask to portray.

While this picture did have several endearing moments, in the end it simply failed to entertain or truly enlighten.

A morose “C+” for “Hector and the Search for Happiness.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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