Release Date 4/4/08
The Story: Bill (Aaron Eckhart) is unhappy with his life. His wife’s (Elizabeth Banks) family essentially has him by the balls: he works for them in their corporation, and they have funded his home, his cars, etc. When he finds out his wife is sleeping with the local TV news guy (Timothy Olyphant), he kind of has a nervous breakdown. Luckily, he has been roped into a mentoring program, and his teenage mentee decides to become the mentor at life enlisting the local Victoria’s Secret employee (Jessica Alba) as a visual aide.
As the movie was coming to a close, my darling boyfriend leaned over and whispered “Is this his ‘American Beauty’ moment?” And he nailed it on the head. Except Meet Bill has excised all of the drama, and just made it into a comedy.
It’s hard to picture someone as attractive (in my opinion) as Aaron Eckhart as a schlub. He now has a spare tire, but he’s still a good looking guy. Maybe it makes it easier to see him succeed. And I’m not ruining the movie, because it pretty much follows the classic mid-life crisis formula: good guy has done wrong, but figures things out in the end.I don’t remember ever hearing about Jessica Alba filming this one. So apparently, you can film movies without the paparazzi around. Honestly, her presence in this movie was my big hesitation about it. I skipped Awake, but I did see Good Luck Chuck—where she forced every line; although if I had to pretend to fall in love with Dane Cook, I’d probably look like I’m forcing it, too. She was actually very natural here. It looked like she was having fun, and that’s what made her a star. If she wants to get back to acting after having her baby, she should watch this movie and remind herself how she did it.It helps that her main costar, Logan Lerman as the teenage mentor, makes it easy to laugh and drives almost every forward movement. The movie is all Eckhart, but this kid steals every scene. I look forward to seeing his next movie (and he possibly could have saved Charlie Bartlett had he been cast).
But as a whole, did the movie work? Yeah, I guess. It’s message is kind of diluted in order to get some laughs, so I didn’t leave thinking: yeah, I need to change x,y,z in my life. It’s not a flashy movie, but it moved at a good pace, and just about every scene had some link to either set up something else or move the plot forward. And I think that’s why I have some hesitation recommending it. I’m not saying that a movie should change your life, but it should be worth your time and your money. It’s a quick 90 minutes, but you’ve seen just about all of it before. Would it be worth it to you to see the same story again, just with a different cast?
What it’s Worth: $5. I’d say if you’re in the video store and you see it on the shelf, pick it up. I can’t say it’s got anything in it that you would need to see in the theater. It’s not a movie people will be talking about other than “Yeah, I saw a fun movie this weekend.” People won’t be analyzing it or saying that it changed their life. It’s fun, light, but doesn’t have much substance.
P.S. If you’ve got a beer belly, please don’t shave your chest – you just look like an overgrown baby, and it doesn’t look good. Unless you/your partner has a diaper fetish.