THE GOOD NIGHT (Sony, 2007) D: Jake Paltrow, w/ Martin Freeman, Penélope Cruz. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
This isn’t the comedy the package proclaims. That disappeared as the actors got more interested in their characters, says writer and first feature director Jake Paltrow (brother of the more famous Gwyneth) on a commentary track mostly devoted to explaining what the movie is supposed to mean.
It’s not that hard to figure out. Martin Freeman (The Office) plays Gary, a depressed jingle writer whose relationship with Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow doing good character acting in brown contacts and a long wig) is deteriorating badly.
Gary encounters a hot babe (Penélope Cruz) in a dream and learns lucid dreaming techniques so he can spend more time with her. His life falls apart and he starts going mad.
In conventional terms, this is slow, not very dramatic and takes a long time to set up, but director Paltrow has an odd take on relationships and interpersonal power and a unique, low-key way of handling dream sequences. The disturbing ending is also worth waiting for.
Freeman and Simon Pegg (as his obnoxious best friend) bring a lot of energy to their scenes together. Cruz is fun in a too-brief appearance as the dream girl’s real-life counterpart.
EXTRAS Director commentary. Widescreen. English, French subtitles.