Alex & Emma (2003)

ROB REINER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB

USA, 2003.  Epsilon Motion Pictures, Franchise Pictures, Reiner-Greisman, Escape Artists.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , Jeremy Leven, Rob Reiner, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Popular novelist Alex () has gotten too carried away with his gambling problem and now owes a couple of mean Cuban mobsters one hundred thousand dollars. The only way he can come up with the money within the 30-day period they’ve given him is to finish writing a book he hasn’t started and hand it over to his publisher (, who also directs, and surprisingly badly), who has promised him an instant advance. In order to write the book as quickly as possible, Wilson hires a nerdy stenographer (Kate Hudson) who takes his dictation and later types it up in full written form. As they progress in their work, Hudson’s input into the characters and their choices ends up having serious ramifications for the story, which in turn gives Wilson more insight into his own problems with women.

Interspersed with these two obvious lovebirds in the making are scenes from the novel itself, which feature Wilson as the hero, Hudson as a charming maid and as the sex goddess who comes between them. This cliched romantic comedy has a lot going for it, especially in terms of its double story line, but the gimmick is pulled off with very little ease and the eventual romance that develops between the real-life couple feels forced and unnatural. It also doesn’t help that the novel Wilson is writing comes off as a trite piece of trash that wouldn’t be worth a moment of your subway-reading time.

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