I know. My regular readers must be amazed that I willingly watched a romantic comedy after my very critical post about them (The Insomniac in Desperation: A Commentary on Romantic Comedies). However, for the last few days I’ve mainly been watching movies that I thought would be good. I decided today to get out of my comfort zone.
So I watched Carolina. If you’ve never heard of this film, it’s because when it was made in 2003, the director Marleen Gorris failed to find a distributor, so it went straight to DVD in 2005. In this movie, Carolina (Julia Stiles) has to fight for a love life in the face of a very quirky and dysfunctional family headed by her wild grand mother (Shirley MacLaine).
To be completely honest, this movie was a tiny bit better than I thought it would be. 65% of it was a terribly cliché romantic comedy in which Carolina has the perfect British stud sweeping her off her feet. But lo’ and behold, her equally attractive best friend who always has been there for her has secretly loved her for years and conveniently decides to tell her only when the British stud comes into her life! My God, no one knows who she will choose!
However, 35% percent of the movie is a story about Carolina really growing up, learning to be more flexible in life, and more importantly, learning how to accept and love her quirky family. That’s the part of the film I enjoyed. The family is adoringly messed up. Carolina and her two sisters are named after the states they were conceived in is just one example. My favorite though is when Georgia gives birth, her Grandmother gets in her face and screams “Georgia, you push harder or I’m going to put a plunger up there and suck your baby out!”
So, my diagnosis of this film is that if it had less trite romantic comedy and more quirky family, it would have been a lot better. Not everyone can enjoy to a story about finding true love. Everyone can relate to stories about family. There’s a reason Little Miss Sunshine was so successful (although I do have a grandfather who couldn’t understand how it was any good because he couldn’t accept all the cussing. Leave it to him to allow a small detail to eclipse a beautiful message).
So for a movie that was mostly crap but had small beads of awesomeness, I give Carolina a 3.