“Every good love story has three sides,” says the tagline for Some Kind of Beautiful, which is completely deceiving. Someone should think about reevaluating the line to “Cambridge professor turns his life upside down because he can’t get his sh** together” because the first one has you naturally assuming that the film is a love story. It’s not. It’s a jumble of many things, love only being only one of them, and a minuscule afterthought at that.
Richard Haig (Pierce Brosnan) is a professor at Cambridge University. While there, he begins seeing Kate (Jessica Alba), a student in one of his classes on romantic literature. After six months of dating, Kate reveals that she’s pregnant and, while still wary of becoming a father and committing to Kate, he decides to move to Los Angeles to be with her — but before doing that, accidentally flirts with her half-sister Olivia (Salma Hayek). A few years later, stuck at a dead end job teaching at a community college, is threatened with deportation, and living in the pool house of his own home after Kate cheats on him, Richard finds himself grasping at straws and drowning, with no way to go but up.
Lacking finesse, Some Kind of Beautiful, formerly titled How to Make Love Like an Englishman (which sounds a lot better), is a cataclysmic mess of attempts at parading the story as one of love. In all actuality, we never spend time with any of these characters as a couple (Brosnan with Alba and later Brosnan with Hayek). So how are we supposed to root for them as such? Brosnan’s character is despondent and not really all that likable (as are all the other characters) and so you won’t really care in the end what happens to any of them.
The story, as much as the characters, is underdeveloped and tacky, flailing around trying to get our attention by attempting comedic cliches, and utterly failing in its supposedly heartfelt scenes. The only relationship you’ll really care about at all is the one Brosnan has with his dad Gordon (Malcolm McDowell), a griping old man who is pleased by nothing and not at all supportive. Worst of all, is that the film is never quite sure in which direction it should go. Should it focus on Brosnan’s struggle in life? The struggles in his love life? The relationship with his son or father? It’s never clear and you’ll find yourself growing impatient with everyone in the end.
Some Kind of Beautiful is not a romance film. If it was, perhaps I missed the memo. The film relies heavily upon stripping Brosnan’s character of his dignity to build him back up again and have him realize what’s important, but the film plays too loose with all the events and people in his life for any of the payoff to be taken seriously. Brosnan is supposedly a man who can’t settle down, but that isn’t at all what we see. The film is an underdeveloped mass of chaos that makes light of the complete and utter irresponsibility on the adults’ side and isn’t funny or romantic in the least.
Release Date: August 21, 2015 | Director: Tom Vaughan | Screenwriter: Matthew Newman | Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba, Malcolm McDowell, Ben McKenzie, Duncan Joiner, Merrin Dungey, Fred Melamed | Genre: Romance, Comedy | MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content, some nudity, and drug use