A scruffy writer, ‘Me’ (Chris Evans) who is trying desperately to get a romance screenplay penned to meet his strict deadline– FADE OUT. For a man who doesn’t believe in love, finding the inspiration for such a narrative is proving difficult until a woman, ‘Her’ (Michelle Monaghan) in a red dress, who is unbelievably confident comes into his life. During this scene, it quickly becomes apparent exactly where this film is heading, however the predictability doesn’t subtract away from the enjoyment factor.
There needs to be more to a romantic comedy that just the lead character falling in love, doesn’t there? To a certain extent director Justin Reardon, along with the writers, provide this via playful dress-up, slick montages and the constantly tongue-in-cheek narration. Just from the sarcastic, almost barbed tone of Evans narrator, it forces you to take this with a pinch of salt. It’s full of clichés and everything you would expect from a standard romance. It even has an obligatory running through the airport scene, albeit there is an air of inventiveness and fresh techniques utilised by first time feature director Reardon, who plays on the pretentiousness of the main protagonist and allows the storyline to drive the characters together in their inevitable happily-ever-after moment, while Evans plays the typical man who isn’t boyfriend material and only puts the time in with woman for one reason, but after finding someone he actually cares for this man is supposedly transformed.
The one thing that simply can’t be over looked is how sexist this script is. No doubt, this is not meant to be taken as verbatim, although after viewing and pondering on what was said and done on screen, this is a very much a one sided coin. This is all about how men view woman, and even though this man seems to have changed for the better, it doesn’t eradicate what this self-absorbed, arrogant writer thinks. Everything is done for his own selfish reasons which somehow even lead to ‘Her’ leaving her prim and oh-so-proper groom at the altar. On one hand suffocatingly romantic and on the other devilishly planned. Strip away the misogynistic and megalomaniac qualities given the narrator, and experiment a bit more with on screen techniques, this could have been a really refreshing film about filmmaking.
That’s where this feature is more fascinating after all, yet without the likeable characters, a romance is always deemed to fail. Playing it Cool desperately tries to keep it’s cool, but sadly fails in its final throws in offering something different when it comes to the romantic comedy genre.