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Archive for June, 2010

Rated M

Director: Robert Luketic

Stars: Harvey Keitel, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Zac Efron, David Schwimmer, Amy Adams, Halle Berry, Kenan Thompson, Gong Li, Shakira, Michael Caine, Daniel Day Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Jessica Alba, Cate Blanchett, Luis Guzman

THE PLOT: Ten intertwining stories of love and romance, in which ten different couples face a terrible crisis in their relationship when the woman suspects the man of infidelity, only for it to be hilariously revealed – ten times – that it was actually his sister she saw him with.

***

In Robert Luketic’s latest feather-light slice of sugary rom-com, based on a napkin stolen from Richard Curtis’s pocket, a dazzling all-star cast bring big laughs and touching moments of tenderness, as the Australian auteur directs like a master puppeteer, skilfully manipulating all the diverse strands before finally bringing them together in a finale at the Taj Mahal that plays out like a hyper-realistic interpretation of David Lean’s version of Don Quixote, in a surprisingly literal way.

As is only natural in a multi-narrative film like this one, some stories come through more strongly than others, and in particular, the revelations that the supposed mistress is in fact the hero’s sister vary from stunning, moving and uproarious to dull and viciously racist. For example, the story strand following Harvey Keitel’s dishevelled circus acrobat and Ellen Burstyn’s haughty Tongan princess on a quest to find a Zurich chocolate shops snaps and crackles with screwball dialogue and sizzling chemistry, only enhanced by the denouement wherein Keitel makes a miraculous recovery from ebola; whereas on the other hand the story of Danny DeVito trying to win back the heart of Miley Cyrus by becoming an astronaut coms across as both unrealistic and gratuitously pornographic, although there are laughs to be had in Miley’s cringe-inducing stint in an Amsterdam brothel window.

Other highlights include Kenan Thompson and Cate Blanchett’s tense two-hander in a torture dungeon, and Gong Li, Shakira and Daniel Day-Lewis playing out a heart-rending love triangle over the course of a charity fun run, while the weakest section all in all is probably Luis Guzman and Zac Efron’s gay Bedouins, with Jessica Alba totally unconvincing as an elderly camel driver, and Michael Caine’s sudden appearance as Alfred from Batman Begins confusing to say the least.

And yet, in the end, That’s My Sister! succeeds on the basis of its enormous heart, good-natured skewering of human foibles, and inreasingly foul-mouthed humour. The perfect way to spend a Saturday night for all lovers of wacky misunderstandings.

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