Rough Magic

Bomb Rating: 

Today: a lesson in deconstruction.

The following is the official "brief synopsis" put out by the movie studio summarizing "Rough Magic":

"Rough Magic is about a woman's literal and spiritual journey toward the reawakening of her own heart. Writer-director Clare Peploe, deliberately mixing genres, has created a colorfully mad kaleidoscope of a film, combining equal parts film noir, romantic adventure and magical thriller."

First, let's look at the use of the phrase "literal and spiritual journey." The film is about a magician's apprentice named Myra (Bridget Fonda) who runs away from her fiancé (D.W. Moffett) and ends up in Mexico. There, she falls in love with Alex (Russell Crowe), the man paid to tail her, and becomes involved in some native rituals that give her odd powers. The film is utterly devoid of logic, prompting some mystified ad exec to use both "literal" and "spiritual" to describe it, thus covering all the bases as well as his own ass.

Now examine the term "writer-director." Nobody has the slightest idea who Clare Peploe is, but since she can write and direct, she must be really special. Notice the word "deliberately" preceding "mixing genres." This is an ad exec euphemism for "we're pretty sure Clare knows what she's doing." Next, look at "colorfully mad kaleidoscope." Isn't a kaleidoscope colorful by definition? "Colorfully mad" implies that even the producers of the film were so confused they forgot what a kaleidoscope was.

Finally, let's look at the attempts to assign the film a genre. "Film noir" tells us that the film is dark while "Romantic adventure" tells us that the film is light. "Magical thriller" tells us that some besieged studio lackey created a whole new genre to escape the repercussions of labeling this film what it really is: completely unfathomable.

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