March 18, 2010

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Remember Me (PG-13)
Robert Pattinson is still a pale tortured soul sporting a Morrisey ’do, but this time he’s a human boy getting all bent out of shape about a girl in Remember Me, a ludicrous story of young love and heartbreak that actually turns sort of offensive by the end.

Offensive to what? To good taste.

Tyler (Pattinson) is the mopey son of a wealthy broken family, spending his days auditing college classes (what, are course credits too bourgeois for you?) and slouching around The Strand bookstore in New York City. The cause of all this moroseness? An older brother who killed himself years earlier (rending this dramatic family apart). His roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) — sort of a hipster version of the standard party boy who is always the friend of the main character in these movies— tries to get him out of his The Cure-ish funk with a night of drunken revelry. The night takes a wrong turn and the boys end up in trouble with the cops. They are arrested by Sgt. Craig (Chris Cooper) and held until Tyler’s rich father’s lawyer can bail him out.

What of Craig, the arresting officer? All we know of him is what we learned in a prologue wherein his wife and young daughter are mugged at gunpoint on a subway platform and his wife is killed. Now his daughter Ally (Emilie de Raven) is herself a student at the college where Tyler is matricu-skulking. Adian thinks it would be a fun goof on the cop if Tyler dated Ally. But Tyler likes her when he meets her and thus begins an affair filled with more preposterous anguish than the most melodramatic of teen angst-o-verses. Think Twilight multiplied by Dawson.

The characters are certainly straight out of the stock playbook of sad teens used by the old The WB network. The youngsters don’t so much interact; they emote at each other, leading to some scenes of such spectacular campiness that, were this indeed a TV show, there would already be at least three drinking games connected to this saga, involving swigs taken at the various face squinches indicating internal pain (emotional or gastrointestinal, one can’t say). Pattinson in particular comes from the Hayden Christensen is-he-about-to-sneeze-or-is-it-acting school of dramatic performance. Though he is not here, as in the Twilight movies, covered in glitter, his lead-with-the-hair acting style is the same.

Elsewhere we find a mélange of strange accents. As if Pattinson’s American accent weren’t sketchy enough, we get Pierce Brosnan, playing the wealthy paterfamilias, with “dem guys” Brooklynese. It is all so perplexing that I regularly forgot what I was watching, story-wise, and just marveled at the strangeness of the performances.

And it’s this general half-wittedness of the movie that I blame for my willful ignoring of certain heavy-handed cues this movie drops about where it’s headed. It was only as the movie reached its climax that I turned my attention away from Pattinson’s scrunch-faced attempt at being his generation’s James Dean that I started to feel the “hey wait a minute” coming on. That was promptly followed by the “ew, really?” And by the groans and chuckles of my fellow audience members I don’t think I am alone in my assessment of how the movie ends its story. Like a dead puppy or sick children, the movie uses a Big Sad to gin up completely unearned emotion. It is, at its heart, deeply not cool dude.

Remember Me? I’d rather forget. D+

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and smoking. Directed by Allen Coulter and written by Will Fetters, Remember Me is an hour and 53 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Summit Entertainment.