Directed by Pat O'Connor, starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron.
Oh, the ever problematic Keanu – action hero he can do, lovable he can do, but rapier sharp and hard-nosed he cannot do. The casting mistake is also repeated with this particular pairing of stars: Keanu Reeves and Charize Theron have appeared in a few movies together at this stage – 'The Devil’s Advocate' being an example. In a recent interview when asked about this repeat co-starring Theron replied that it's because they have "great chemistry" together. In the latter film, as with this, Keanu was required to play a bright, successful man-in-a-suit, there a lawyer, here an ad exec. I just don't buy it. From this difficult point, we proceed.
'Sweet November' is a deeply contrived, clichéd piece of old codswallop that is just about saved by the wonderfully, sparkly Ms Theron and Keanu in more credible 'lovable mode' towards the end. Together they make this silly entertainment worth watching. It has cross-bred two romantic genres – the one about the insensitive, capitalist man who is put in touch with his feelings by the love of a good woman (see 'Regarding Henry', 'Family Man'); and the one about the couple who fall in love only to discover (shock) that some tragedy awaits! (see this month's 'Autumn in New York'). How clever!
Well, the only clever thing about this was casting the captivating Theron. All the other staples of the genre are there – with the girl's gay best friend living downstairs, only here he's also a transvestite. How inventive. Jason Isaacs gets a welcome break from his line of scenery-chewing baddies to provide in this spangly-attired role some obligatory comic relief.
Theron plays an eccentric who believes it her duty to save the male race one-by-one by devoting herself to each emotionally-stunted fellow for one month. After that they go their separate ways, he cured and she proud of being able to help! So when Keanu is a bit nasty to her on their first meeting, she duly decides that he shall be her Mr November. He puts up a bit of a fight, but since he's conveniently been fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend, he figures, why not?
Still with me? Does this strike you as a credible storyline, with the beautiful Charlize inviting perfect strangers to live with her for a month? Of course it doesn't, but luckily it doesn't matter, as at the end you'll be blubbing along with the rest of us soppy gits. And maybe she's right, the chemistry ain't bad.