"Not all comic book adaptations are like Daredevil. Some of them are good..."
Movies based on comics are usually easy to pull off. Throw in a few spandex outfits, some fancy CGI and a few wisecracks and you usually have a summer blockbuster (or spectacular flop) on your hands. But not all comics are based on formerly normal teenagers with stupid powers; some are fiestas of dry observational humour. Recent indie-hit ‘American Splendour’ is one example, and ‘Ghost World’ is another.Starring a pre-‘American Beauty’ Thora Birch and a pre-‘Lost in Translation’ Scarlett Johansson as two cynical, aloof High School outsiders, this charts their progress from graduation to real world life. Steve Buscemi plays the subject of a practical joke executed by Birch, and it is the subsequent events that draw Birch and Buscemi into one of those screen relationships that are totally believable, but rely on far too many coincidences to ever occur naturally. Essentially, Buscemi’s character merely acts as a catalyst to the degradation of the friendship of Birch and Johansson as they ‘embrace’ adult life in rather different ways. But this does not stop him stealing virtually every scene he stars in from under the noses of his co-stars.
This is a movie that seems to think it is a lot better than it actually is. Though everything about the movie is easily good enough to warrant a strong recommendation, you can’t escape the feeling that the movie has a very high opinion of itself. All the sharp script and great acting in the world can’t disguise the fact that this is basically the losers ‘Clueless’. The air of pretension hardly kills the movie, but rather gives it an irritating bout of Athlete’s Foot.
All round stellar performances (with particular praise going to the flawless performances from Johansson and Buscemi) still ensure that standards remain high throughout the movie, even when they get bogged down in a fairly boring story that should be wrapped up about twenty minutes before it eventually is.
Not quite as cool and clever and it think it is, but for a comic book adaptation, the director shows fair skill in fleshing out the 2D characters into their 3D (dimensionally at least, emotionally they remain rather flat) counterparts.
And Red Hot Chili Pepper fans, watch out for a cameo by the psychopathic taxi driver from the ‘By the Way’ video as a semi-psychotic shop customer.If you can get past how good it thinks it is, and judge it by how good it actually is; you are in for an alternative, sarcastic, wonderfully dark cinematic treat.