Surprise last minute Valentine’s Day review!
This special day deserves a very special review of a very special movie. Unfortunately all I have to offer is The Competition. A garbage romantic comedy that fails to not only deliver the romance but also the comedy.
This shitpile stars Thora Birch and Chris Klein. Both actors I haven’t seen in years, the first sign that maybe this wasn’t going to be good. In Chris Klein’s case I think I know why he vanished from my radar. He might be the most uncharismatic actor I have ever seen in my life. He’s so wooden and bland, he makes Scott Eastwood look like Dwayne Johnson.
Thora Birch… I had the biggest crush on her back in the day. Seeing her in American Beauty made my goth teen heart pitter-patter. Though her uneven boob size slightly killed it for me. On one hand, boobs! And on the other, it was like someone let the air out. All I could do while watching this shitty Competition film was wonder if that right boob ever grew in. I mean, I guess that’s how boobs work, right?
I think after Ghost World, she kind of dropped off the map for me. It seems she’s had steady work ever since, so good for her. It’s hard to say if she’s bad in this or if the writing is just so atrocious that it makes her seems like she is about to overdose on sleeping pills and filming this was just an excuse to keep her awake so she wouldn’t fall into a coma.
So what exactly is this disaster of a film about, anyways?
Thora Birch plays Lauren, who I’m guessing is a scientist? She has come up with a formula on how long a relationship should last before the other person starts to think about cheating.
She has a blog that has caught the eye of a book publisher. They want to take her all men are pigs idea and turn it into a bestselling novel.
We first get introduced to Lauren and her boyfriend as they are about to jump out of a plane to go skydiving. But it’s been 6 months so that unfortunately means she has to dump him. And it seems like this is her method of choice to breaking the bad news, tricking them to go skydiving and pushing them out as she ends things.
So… that’s crazy, right? Not the plane stuff, which I mean, that’s an awful thing to do as well, but I’m referring to getting in a relationship with someone and not tell them beforehand there’s an expiration date already picked out for them. At least in that Black Mirror episode Hang the DJ, they all knew when the relationship would end, here it just seems cruel.
6 months is a long time to date anyone. Most relationships only last about 2 months. If you’ve been together for 6, some usually start thinking about proposing or at least moving in. Sooner if you’re a lesbian couple. The point is, the relationship is at least serious enough that you could call it a committed relationship, right? At least one where maybe you should let the other person know they’ll be dropping them soon. Maybe that’s like a first month topic to bring up. A month should be long enough to know if this thing will even last longer than 2 months. After that, maybe let the other person in on your fucked up commitment issues.
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Lauren’s sister Gena worries that doing this book will ruin her with ever finding a man. So she gets her coworker, played by Chris Klein to seduce her sister and get her to shut down the site and call off this book idea. What Chris Klein gets in return is a partnership at the law firm.
What more can I say about Calvin, Chris Klein’s character, other than he’s bland white toast? They made him this overtly nice, Mormon nice, yet he might be a player with the ladies… they never really give you a whole lot on his background. The only thing we know about him is he’s nice, he’s single and he has never lost a case.
I hate to say this, but How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days did this plot waaaay better. And that film is about as undigestible as it gets. It’s the reason Matthew McConaughey had such a bad rap for all these years. I mean, films like The Wedding Planner, Tiptoes, Failure to Launch and Fool’s Gold didn’t help things either.
No romantic comedy would be complete without the meet cute. The moment our two love interests meet for the first time. Here they meet by Chris Klein stalking her, waiting for her to walk by so he can talk on his cellphone about science so she’ll then what? Talk to him? What? No, it was charities. He walks past her talking about charities involving science and this somehow causes her to trip and hurt her ankle.
Okay, ladies. If a stranger bumps into you, directly or indirectly resulting in you injuring yourself, would you then later agree to go have coffee with him? I mean, I guess weirder things could happen. Who am I kidding, we lost all our female readers once they got to that part about Thora Birch’s boobs.
Not only is she a specialist when it comes to relationship formulas, but also other things, like pizza. She came up with the perfect ratio for sauce, cheese and crust density. And now the restaurant that bought that formula is now extremely popular. I believe the name of the restaurant was just restaurant. It was either just restaurant or just pizza. Either way it looked like they filmed it on someone’s back patio.
The whole pizza conversation seemed improvised, because wow is it awkward. It was like their lines for that scene ran but no one ever called cut. So they just improvised a bunch of things to awkwardly say to each other.
So after he breaks her leg, they go out and eat pizza, have more improvised painfully bad lines and instantly start dating.
Your typical rom com, usually good or bad, they follow a pretty simple formula. And since this one is so generic and bland, it might follow your typical rom com standard. There’s a third act breakup before one of them comes rushing to stop them at the airport before they leave. But nope, not here. Instead of getting caught lying about how he met her, he automatically comes clean about how he knows her. That’s one of the major issues this film has. There’s very little conflict, be it cliché or not, everything gets quickly swept under the rug and forgotten about. How about him doing this to make partner at the law firm? She finds out early on and doesn’t care. The fact he’s trying to sabotage her book deal? Nope, doesn’t matter either. The main conflict is if Chris Klein ever slept with her sister.
But so what if he did? This would be way before he ever meet Lauren. Are you going to get mad at all his past conquests? Should he have dated her for 6 months then dump her? Then would she not have a problem with it? Her reasoning is fucked.
After coming clean to her about knowing her from her sister. He also comes clean about knowing about the whole men are pigs formula and website. So, they make a deal. A little competition if you will. If he can prove her formula wrong, they have to keep dating after the 6 months are up and she has to shut down her website and end her multimillion dollar book deal.
And I guess if she wins, she gets to dump him at the 6 month mark and get an excerpt from him for the book.
The challenge is, Klein’s character will setup his friends who are either married or in a long term relationship, testing them with a hot stripper temptress Lauren knows from the site.
If she comes back with their underwear, they lose. Best 3 out of 5 to win, or lose depending on which side you’re on. To me, both sides are pretty awful. Klein is actively setting his friends up to cheat on their wives, while Lauren is pimping out this woman, with the intent to ruin someone’s life for a stupid bet.
They must have realized the gray area they were in, so they state that maybe they aren’t sleeping with them… stripper lady just grabs their underwear to prove they succumbed to her wilds … it’s unclear if these guys are actually having sex with this stripper or not.
So as the competition goes on, one by one her stripper friend keeps collecting their underwear. Also, his set of friends are really weird. He’s like this nice guy lawyer, but his friends are nothing like him. One works at the gym Klein goes to. With clothes on, he looks like a fat dude, but they show him later with his shirt off and I guess he’s muscular. He’s constantly ridiculed for being a musclebound meathead, but in reality he just looks like some fat dude who sweats up the gym equipment.
His other friends are this homeless guy that lives with him and this bartender. Maybe they’re college friends or something. I just don’t picture this guy, nice or not, hanging out with these people.
After their third attempt fails, the bartender, they need someone to take the place of the pastor on Klein’s list. So they trap his homeless friend into going over to stripper girl’s place to help fix her computer. But after Lauren learns she’s getting 2 million bucks for her book deal, she changes the address to her place and tries seducing him herself.
The plan backfires when he reveals he’s been in love with her all this time, even though we don’t even get an inkling of that. He has maybe a total on three scenes in this film only one featuring Lauren and that’s only in passing.
Klein rushes over to her place to stop her from winning, only to find homeless dude pawing at her.
You’d think that would be the major conflict now, right? Nope, completely forgotten about. The major issue you might also think would be she was the one who cheated. Nope. That’s not even acknowledged. If this film had a brain, that would have been the twist/conflict, she’s the one who cheats, not him. The film would still be garbage, but at least it did something sort of clever.
It’s not a surprise since I already mentioned this, but the major issue that comes between them is that Klein’s character might have slept with Lauren’s sister when they were in college. He claims he didn’t, hell, I was convinced she was a lesbian. I fully expected at the end to have this conflict resolved by her girlfriend coming down the stairs to introduce herself.
But instead they trick Klein( who is drunk by the way) into coming to Gena’s house (Lauren’s sister). She’s going to try and seduce Klein, if he goes for it, Lauren wins the bet. He rejects Gena however and goes on this weird Denis Leary from Demolition Man rant about being a man.
And now all is forgiven, hurray!
Boy did I hate this movie. It’s never funny, I know I mentioned this was a comedy as well, but I could never find any jokes or comedic moments. The only thing that came close was when Klein was having poker night, during the day, with his friends and they have some awkward bantering about their wives.
Again, it seemed either improvised or the writing was just that bad. Either way it felt unnatural.
The romance aspects also failed to deliver as the two leads had zero chemistry. And I mean ZERO. I leave all the blame on Klein as he is a bland block of wood that became sentient. Seeing him try to act is honestly a painful experience. It was so painful, that I felt embarrassed for him. Emote, goddamn it!
This gets a fat SKIP IT!
Don’t even bother. If you’re looking for a rom com to watch with your significant other, check out When We First Met of Netflix or my personal favorite, Don’t Tell Her It’s me, retitled The Boyfriend School. Or you could always watch American Beauty again and get creeped out by what we now know about Kevin Spacey.
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