Anti–romantic comedy Some Kind of Beautiful starts with a dialogue scene that baldly explains to viewers what kind of casually chauvinistic narrative it’s not going to be. That promise is gracelessly and repeatedly broken thanks to neophyte screenwriter Matthew Newman’s clichéd characterizations and helmer Tom Vaughan’s incompetent direction.
When commitment-phobic English professor Richard (Pierce Brosnan) first meets hysterical writer Olivia (Salma Hayek), he tells her that he’s not just, in her words, an “aging lothario.” Richard commits unfunny faux pas while he drinks and screws his way through a series of contrived confrontations, like when he tries to sell pot before a high-stakes custody battle with young wife Kate (Jessica Alba). But he never transcends his bad behavior.
Meanwhile, love interest Olivia is the butt of many of the film’s jokes, as in the scene where Hayek unsuccessfully tries to cover her naked body as she sneaks out of Richard’s bedroom. Hayek swings for the fences, but none of the gags she’s tasked with delivering are funny, not even when she desperately pantomimes various breathless expressions men make when they orgasm.
Richard gets all of the film’s best lines, but Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas) rarely seems to know how to film Brosnan. Brosnan isn’t even facing the camera when Richard jokes with son Jake (Duncan Joiner) that women like having their panties taken off because panties, in Jake’s words, “look so uncomfortable.” Richard may be obnoxious, but Vaughan always inadvertently finds new ways to make Brosnan look even worse.
Some Kind of Beautiful
Directed by Tom Vaughan
Opens August 21
Available on demand