Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Better Living Through Chemistry

Lowdown: A husband kept subdued by wife and parents in law goes on fire through the lethal combination of a woman and chemicals.
The question of what makes a film good is one of those philosophically unanswerable questions, at least not during the time available to humanity till this universe of ours slowly dies out with its accelerated expansion. We all know that a good original script goes a long way, but Better Living Through Chemistry proves that one needn’t be that original to make a nice movie; a little bit of flare will do nicely.
Sam Rockwell plays Doug, the husband of Kara (Michelle Monaghan) and the son in law of Kara’s parents. Doug doesn’t have much of a presence of his own; he may be the one running the show at the family’s pharmacy, but the father in law won’t let him change its name from his. He may be a good pharmacist, but Kara would still take her father’s word on medicine over his. Besides, all Kara cares about is her bicycle craze, and she doesn’t hesitate in humiliating Doug in front of friends and colleagues in the process of achieving her professional turn personal aspirations. Which leaves our Doug rather supressed, or more like a volcano waiting to erupt.
Eruption comes following a chance encounter with Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde), the bored stay at home wife of a busy rich husband (Ray Liotta). First there’s this & that; then there’s sex; then, to take things further, Doug borrows on his expertise with pharmaceutical chemicals; and then there’s a murder plot to help sort things out for Doug. It seems as if Better Living Through Chemistry is hell bent on sending this comedy into the realms of the tragic film noir love triangle story we've seen many times before.
Regardless of whether it gets to those realms or not, Better Living Through Chemistry proves to be a fairly entertaining movie. Sure, there is not much in it that we haven’t seen before, but it does have an ace up its sleeve: its hero, Doug, goes through a journey from being the well trodden over victim into an, excuse me, a Sam Rockwell character that is lucky enough to be portrayed by Sam Rockwell! How cool is that?
Better Living Through Chemistry is the second off beat Sam Rockwell movie we get to watch in recent months alongside The Way Way Back. Although both won’t shatter viewers existential perceptions they both turned out to be nice surprises. Good on Rockwell, I say.
Best scene: A Doug brimming with drugs tries to undo his wife in a bicycle race full of laughs and accidents.
Overall: Unassuming, unoriginal, yet entertaining. 3 out of 5 amused crabs.

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