ReelTalk Movie Reviews  


New Reviews
SP Stage Fright
13 Sins
Manakamana
Transcendence
Heaven Is for Real
Cuban Fury
Oculus
M Word, The
more movies...
New Features
Actress Joan Benedict Steiger on Tap
Mickey Rooney Remembered
Marc Erlbaum on Film and Social Change
more features...
Navigation
ReelTalk Home Page
Movies
Features
Forum
Search
Contests
Customize
Contact Us
Affiliates
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict



Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage


Rate This Movie
 ExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 AverageAverageAverage
 Below AverageBelow Average
 Poor
Rated 2.97 stars
by 1315 people


ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Top Five Faults of HIGH FIDELITY
by Betty Jo Tucker

The top five reasons why witty dialogue and another frenetic performance by John Cusack cannot save High Fidelity are:

    1. It contains too many repetitive scenes.
    2. The filmís editing causes confusion.
    3. Jack Black, lead singer for Tenacious D, doesnít perform enough
    4. The "top five break-up" flashbacks are overdone.
    5. Cusackís character talks to the audience too much.

While not a total dud, High Fidelity failed to engage me completely because of its self-absorbed lead character. This edgy romantic comedy, based on the novel by Nick Hornby, centers on the efforts of a failing record store owner (Cusack) to understand why he always gets dumped by his girlfriends. Explaining that his latest rejection doesnít make it into his list of TOP FIVE BREAK-UPS, Cusack (Pushing Tin) proceeds to tell the audience about each of them --- and at LENGTH.

In scenes providing a welcome relief from our heroís musings, his two quirky store clerks (Black and Todd Louiso) engage in very funny arguments about pop music. As unsung experts in the field, they are obsessed with creating their all-time favorite top-five lists of specific songs. And, they sometimes even drive customers away by insulting their musical tastes --- or lack thereof.

Interesting cameos by Catherine Zeta-Jones (Mask of Zorro) and Tim Robbins (Mission To Mars) also liven things up a bit. Zeta-Jones appears to relish her unsympathetic role as one of Cusackís former girlfriends. Robbins gives an excellent tongue-in-cheek performance as a Steven Seagal wannabe who falls for Cusackís current girlfriend (Iben Hjejle). But what happened to Joan Cusack (In and Out)? Usually a brilliant comic actress, she just goes through the motions here as Cusackís cranky sister (type casting perhaps?).

One of the most entertaining things about High Fidelity is an impressive soundtrack that includes artists like Joan Jett, Elton John, Bow Wow Wow, Peter Frampton, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello, Queen, The Velvet Underground, Love, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Dylan. Itís definitely a keeper for pop music lovers.

Does this uneven film have a message or a moral? Well, sort of. Director Stephen Frears (The Grifters) maintains that Cusack plays a complicated Everyman. Producer D. V. DeVincentis (Grosse Point Blank) adds, "The elements of the story are universal. . . It points out in a very funny way the obvious mistakes people make and the way they deal with, or more importantly, donít deal with them." Cusack himself calls the movie " a kind of male confessional."

And thatís the problem here. Confessionals require more telling than showing, whereas films need eye-catching images. Clearly, High Fidelity would be a much better movie with shorter monologues and more stimulating cinematography.

(Released by Touchstone Pictures and rated "R" for language and sexuality.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
© 2014 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC