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FLICKS: Even with no nudity, Juliet, Naked is a fun romantic comedy

Posted on 29 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

First premiering at the Sundance Film Festival last winter, Juliet, Naked is a new romantic comedy that opens this Labor Day weekend at select theaters. For the 50 Shades of Grey fans, Juliet,Naked will be a disappointment. There is no nudity nor acrobatic sex scenes, but for fans of Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn or Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies, then Juliet,Naked is the film for you.

Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) is an American one-hit-wonder who penned and performed the song “Juliet.” Much like the cult worship of Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, Tucker Crowe is the subject of worship for some British music fans, especially Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd). Duncan has had a long time relationship with live-in girlfriend Annie Platt (Rose Byrne), who tolerates her boyfriend’s obsession with the faded musician.

One day, Annie receives a bootleg CD titled “Juliet, Naked” and listens to it, unimpressed by the song. After a comedic domestic dispute, Duncan listens to the song and worships it. While discussing the CD on his podcast, Duncan is met with some heavy criticism from an anonymous source. The anonymous source turns out to be Tucker Crowe.

Bit by bit, the plot moves forward to a logical climax and conclusion. The mystery and magnitude of Tucker Crowe is deconstructed, while Rose and Duncan take the time to discuss the seriousness of their relationship. Will there be a happy ending? Let’s just say that this romantic comedy supplies a satisfactory ending.

Juliet, Naked is based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. This British novelist also penned High Fidelity, About a Boy and his own memoir Fever Pitch, all titles that have been converted into movies. While not major box office sensations, the movie versions of Nick Hornby’s books have grown in status with repeated television viewings. The characters and situations are real with much audience empathy. The emphasis is about everyday pains, but with subtle humor.

As either second banana or the heroine’s antagonist in romantic comedies like Bridesmaids and The Internship, top billed Rose Byrne shines as the heroine. Chris O’Dowd also shines as the super fan, who becomes the romantic rival to his own idol. Ethan Hawke was born to play enigmatic Tucker Crowe. As written, Crowe could have been a total jerk, but Hawke brings a working class charisma to the musician, who prefers to just live in his garage apartment and talk to his many kids, from his two or three wives, or girlfriends.

Being a romantic comedy, go see this movie with some friends and get some dinner afterwards. Juliet, Naked is a communal affair that is best seen on the Big Screen. Happy Labor Day!

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