Main cast: Luke Wilson (Alex Sheldon/Adam Shipley), Kate Hudson (Emma Dinsmore/Ylva/Elsa/Eldora/Anna), Paul Willson (Whistling John Shaw), David Paymer (John Shaw), Sophie Marceau (Polina Delacroix), and Alexander Wauthier (Andre Delacroix)
Director: Rob Reiner
Fyodor Dostoevsky dictated The Gambler in 30 days and fell in love with his stenographer. Alex and Emma decides to do a modern take of this romance and presents Alex Sheldon, a man who must produce a book in 30 days or sleep with the fish, thanks to loan sharks that want their money back. He hires Emma Dinsmore to write down what he dictates, and so he begins telling a story that seems like a rip-off from The Great Gatsby, only with accent so horrible that one may be tempted to do an Anna Karenina the next time a train passes the tracks.
The movie also has Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson acting out scenes from Alex’s book. This is a story about a man called Adam falling in love with sweet nanny Ylva/Elsa/Eldora/Anna (depending on which revision of the story) while lusting after the rich hussy Polina. Kate Hudson’s Emma has her moments when she is puncturing Adam’s story with insights that often reflect why “romance novels” written by men seldom work, as the stories are often extensions of the male author’s ego (Nicholas Sparks, anyone?). But this movie requires Ms Hudson to play several different roles that speak in different accents, and she botches up every single one with horrible over-enunciation and overacting. Sophie Marceau is just as bad. Luke Wilson has nothing to do than to put on that hangdog mug face of his, and he does a decent job. One could do a decent job if one is required just to smile and talk like a whipped puppy, I’m sure.
The worst thing about this movie – horrendous acting by the female leads aside – is the fact that Alex is writing a truly horrific book. This story he’s writing is rarely even bad in an amusing way – it’s just boring because it’s like a sad wannabe of a parody. This story wants to be funny by being deliberately bad, but unfortunately, it is bad, only in just how much it failed in what it sets out to do.
Alex and Emma, at the end of the day, is boring spoken in five different mangled accents. Kate Hudson really should stop trying on roles that require her to act outside her limited range, and accent should be listed in her absolute “avoid at all cost” list. Still, I can’t help thinking that even if we have an actress that can sing Ave Maria backwards in six different languages while doing handstands, with its ineptly executed script, there’s probably nothing that can save this movie from being utterly wretched.