Not Rewriting Romance
Back in 1998 screenwriter Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) was riding the crest of the wave as he won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. But since then things have gone wrong; there have been no more movie successes, no one will but one of his scripts, his marriage ended and now money is tight. It is why he finds himself leaving Los Angeles and heading to Binghamton University in upstate New York to teach screenwriting, something which he is reluctantly doing. But as he finds out, not only has he a genuine gift for teaching but Karen (Bella Heathcote), one of his students is a star struck fan who falls for him. Of course that causes problems especially when he meets Holly Carpenter (Marisa Tomei) a single mum who is not only studying but also holding down two jobs.
A woman tells a guy she watched a film with her girls, his response is are you a lesbian. Now there is a point to that scene as it is to demonstrate that in this case Keith Michaels is shallow and not over sympathetic to others but it is also meant to make us laugh, I did say meant but sadly it doesn't. This is very much a running theme to "The Rewrite" especially during the first half as time and again we watch as Michael acts inappropriately, arrogantly and basically being a self-centred dick with his bluntness and opinions meant to make us laugh but rarely do.
But of course "The Rewrite" is more than just watching Hugh Grant playing a shallow womanizer who chooses students on their attractiveness when it comes to women and ugliness when it comes to guys. What this movie is about is Keith discovering a different version of himself who falls for someone not usually his type whilst actually enjoying something he thought he loathed. So basically we have a touch of "About a Boy" redemption combined with 50% of other romantic comedies with that storyline of redemption and re-evaluation of a life.
Now maybe I am being harsh but in truth I expected more from "The Rewrite" especially with a cast with plenty of famous faces. The thing is that this ends up a one character movie with the only one with any real depth being Keith Michaels whilst the rest, including Holly, being painfully under written. As such what you get is 107 minutes of Hugh Grant playing a more grown up version of a shallow character he had played before whilst all those around him deliver conventional characters lacking in depth.
What this all boils down to is that "The Rewrite" isn't a bad movie but it feels like one which is surprisingly ordinary with a storyline of one guy discovering a different side to himself that he likes more including the women he dates. Whilst it showcases Hugh Grant's talents the rest of the cast are cheated with poorly developed characters.