February 11, 2008

Romeo and Juliet Get Married: Wherefore Art Thou, Film?

julie Reviewer: Diana Slampyak
Rating (out of 5): *½

As a Shakespearean literature and film scholar (it was one of my areas of concentration in getting my Ph.D.), I love to see films that update the Bard's plays cleverly, such as Scotland, PA, 10 Things I Hate About You and O. So I really looked forward to seeing what I think is Shakespeare’s worst play revamped again (Baz Luhrmann's version is genius, but not for the plot or the acting). But Romeo and Juliet Get Married gives us middle-aged co-stars acting out a world football fantasy ridiculous in nature.

The story centers around our happy couple, played by Luana Piovani and Luiz Gustavo. They’ve fallen in love, but trouble looms on the horizon: he supports the team Corinthians while she and her family adore the Palmeiras. What to do? Well, naturally, Romeo pretends to be a Palmeiras fan. But he takes the pseudo-fan persona too far, and tragedy ensues. Or at least heartbreak. And, of course, measures must be made to resurrect poor Romeo (who has a 21-year-old son) and Juliet from total destruction before it’s all too late. Cliché central.

Honestly, I don’t know what Bruno Barreto (Dona Flora and Her Two Husbands, Four Days in September) was thinking when he decided to make Romeo and Juliet Get Married; the film is trite, completely uninteresting and often ludicrous. Who would really go to the lengths that Romeo does just to impress Juliet’s father (played by Marco Ricca), so staunch a defender of the Palmeiras that his family’s welfare means little to him as he neglects his wife and daughter terribly? And who would actually let the nonsense go on? Perhaps it’s a cultural gap, as I know around the world football (soccer here) is a big deal, and that clubs do have faithful members who even beat the hell out of supporters of other teams. Maybe that love of sport is why this was a hit in Brazil. But, even if you think sport is life, you’ll find little to like here.

The characters are all uni-dimensional caricatures; the acting itself is lackluster. And there’s no bloodshed or murder of best friends to give it Shakespearean flair. The only parallel that came up arrived in the last scene, which I will not spoil for you, although as smart film viewers you can probably guess what that scene is.

Supposedly charming and heartwarming, the film is actually just dull and dumb. If you really want to see well-done revamped Shakespeare, try the aforementioned films, and avoid Romeo and Juliet Get Married; a plague on your queue if you rent it.

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Posted by cphillips at February 11, 2008 1:43 PM