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Film's actors outshine script in remake 'Sweet November'

Feb. 16, 2001

By ZACK WIMPEE

Reporter

I was pleasantly surprised as I watched a sneak preview of Sweet November. In a movie that lacks in action and is a little slow at times, Sweet November is carried by good acting.

I know what you're thinking -- Keanu Reeves' acting cannot carry a movie. Usually I would agree that, unless this movie was titled Bill & Ted's Sweet November, Reeves would seem awkward and stiff. Reeves has been trying to shake his image as dopey Ted 'Theodore' Logan for years. One movie review Web site, www.mrcranky.com, went as far as to say that Reeves is 'a guy with all the acting range of a carp.'

However, Reeves is believable in his newest movie as Nelson Moss, an advertising workaholic with no life. Then he stumbles upon Charlize Theron. Theron plays Sara Deever, a spunky woman who lives life to the fullest and wants Reeves to try her lifestyle for the month of November. Theron is funny and does a great job of portraying this carefree spirit. I always see Theron in more serious roles, but her ability as an actress shines in this movie.

At least Sweet November provides a different slant to the boy-meets-girl romantic movie. The story starts with Nelson cheating off of Sara at the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, part of the story line seems a little farfetched when Nelson is convinced, after only two days of knowing Sara, to move in with her. This starts Sara's game of influencing a random man for one month. The fairy tale romance is thrown a curveball when Sara's secret is revealed.

Sweet November also has amusing supporting roles in Sara's neighbors. At first it seems like Chad, played by Jason Isaacs, has a relationship of his own with Sara. One of the funniest parts of the movie occurs when we see why they are just friends.

Other neighbors humorously ask Sara, in front of Nelson, 'So this must be November?' Nelson is a little frustrated by being part of some game, but Sara's motivation is simple: she just wants to help Nelson find a better life.

When you think about these two on camera you expect a big love scene. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the love scene was taken out to keep a PG-13 rating. Keanu told the Chronicle that he thought it was ridiculous that 'showing a nice intimacy scene between two people is R-rated.'

It is also interesting that Reeves, Theron, and director Pat O'Connor were all born overseas. Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Theron, who was born in South Africa, came to New York to be a dancer. After a knee injury, Theron moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. O'Connor was born in Ireland, and directed Inventing the Abbotts and Circle of Friends. These three came together to make a good movie with some really funny parts that elevate Sweet November into a three-paw rating.