Cinema-Scene.com > Volume 6 > Number 24

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Director:
Nick Cassavetes

Starring:
Ryan Gosling
Rachel McAdams
Gena Rowlands
James Garner
Joan Allen
James Marsden

Release: 25 Jun. 04
IMDb

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The Notebook

BY: DAVID PERRY

Coming just as the country finishes its weeks-long Ronald Reagan love-fest, New Line has evidently decided itís about time the country has a good, old-fashioned weepy to make their lightheartedness return. Formed as a return to Steel Magnolias-style melodrama in a Nicholas Sparks premise, The Notebook offers what could be the least sincere assertion made by a film since The Birth of a Nation: evidently Nancy Reagan could have helped demystify her husbandís memories if only she had kept reading his autobiography to him.

Regardless of its retrogressive denial of stem cell research, The Notebook is still a poorly plotted romance set against bombast that only makes the star-crossed lovers seem plaintively counterfeit. Itís third-grade level storytelling has these characters go through the cycles of a rich v. poor love triangle thatís been done superiorly dozens of times. This is especially seen in the inability of the young actors to convince anyone in the audience that their love is really worth the time and impatience they expend while playing coy.

With dialogue that seems more parody than earnest, The Notebook hits all the wrong marks. Itís compendium of clichťs feel almost relaxing by the end -- if director Nick Cassavetes (continuing his attempts to piss away his inborn blessings, including Gena Rowlandís willingness to appear in whatever her son does) had rocked the boat, the film might have had critics wondering if their early appraisal of John Cassavetesí son was correct. But no, we can all take solace in knowing that son Nick is just the kind of hack his father contrasted
.

©2004, David Perry, Cinema-Scene.com, 11 June 2004