Love in the Time of Cholera

Easily the worst adaptation of a major novel by a Nobel Prize–winning author. Easily. Director Mike Newell and writer Ronald Harwood have rendered Gabriel García Márquez's novel little more than a sudsy telenovela—Lifetime by way of Telemundo. Not that the material didn't teeter and totter in that direction to begin with: The story of Florentino Ariza's 50-year crush on Fermina Daza was always little more than a variation on Romeo and Juliet, only tinged with the flowery scent of magical realism. But there ain't a damned thing real—magical or otherwise—about this abomination, which stars a wasted Javier Bardem as Florentino and Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Fermina, who ditches Florentino for a doctor (Benjamin Bratt, who's always been a little made-for-TV anyway). From the hoot-worthy dialogue ("I don't need a medical lesson." "No, this is going to be a lesson in love") to the atrocious makeup, to the dead rats taped to the side of Hector Elizondo's head, the entire thing's a wreck. Unless it was trolling for sneering chuckles, in which case—success!

 
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