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Sweet November Review

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Obnoxious workaholic Nelson meets laid-back Sara and, after losing his high-powered job, agrees to be the latest in a long line of men who move in with the winsome one for a month so she can ‘improve them’. Of course, they fall in love, and the tough busi

★★★★

Keanu Reeves is very pretty. And if he’s doing the dopey dude thing (Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure) or the monosyllabic, cool thing (The Matrix, Speed) it’s possible to swallow the idea that he’s not a bad actor. But stick him in a fluffy romance that needs lots of quivering lips and Feelings with a capital F, and the poor lad looks as dumbstruck as a rabbit caught in the headlights.

And that bewilderment is the expression Keanu sports for most of this movie, as the advertising executive who quickly loses his edge and discovers his warm and fuzzy side once he’s spent a few days in the company of free spirit, Sara (Theron). Meanwhile, she gets to be quirky as the girl who takes in a man for a month (Nelson being, of course, her project for November), and then unleashes him back on the world just as he’s getting used to playing with puppies and having his meals cooked for him.

Unfortunately, the love story here is so completely unconvincing - he finds an excuse to throw out his suit and start wearing sweatshirts, she gets someone to play mind games with - and the so-called plot twist so obvious (clue: she coughs a bit and has a cabinet full of pill bottles), that it’s hard to care what happens to either of them, or the clichéd characters they’re friends with.

Based on a 1968 movie that wasn’t that good either, and glossily directed by Pat O’Connor (Circle Of Friends) as if he thinks he’s making an advert for expensive after dinner mints, this film is only watchable for one reason: turn up an hour after it’s started to see Keanu warble a song, and you’ll understand why in real life his band Dogstar only let him play bass guitar.

Well, the setting looks nice. And so do Keanu and Charlize. And their affair isn’t quite as stomach-churning as the Richard Gere/Winona Ryder romance in the similar Autumn In New York.

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