High Fidelity

"Good"

High Fidelity Review


John Cusack plays the bitterness of being dumped with droll aplomb in "High Fidelity," an observant and acerbic dark comedy in which he is our overly-reflective tour guide through the farcical misery of a bad breakup.

Cusack adapted the screenplay himself from Nick Hornsby's underground best-seller about a London slacker who opened a used record store in his 20s and has employed it as an excuse to never grow up.

For the film, the action is moved to Chicago (the star/screenwriter's old stomping grounds), where Rob Gordon (Cusack) hangs out all day in his shop full of tattered record bins plastered with radio station stickers, composing musically pretentious Top Five lists (Top Five Side-One First Tracks, Top Five Formerly Great Sell-Out Musicians) with his equally idle and smug clerks (Todd Louiso and Jack Black).

As the movie opens, Rob's live-in girlfriend Laura (Danish actress Iben Hjejle) is packing up and hitting the bricks. Realizing he can't talk her out of it, he turns instantly resentful and swears boisterously that she'll never make it onto his Top Five Worst-Ever Breakups -- which are subsequently cataloged in facetious flashbacks at various points throughout the movie.

Using his on-screen narration as a form of therapy and musical pop culture references as philosophy, Rob sulks around his cave-like pad full of second-hand furniture and concert posters, re-cataloging his endless LP collection and waxing huffy about his breakup to the audience. Then he has an epiphany: He'll track down those Top Five breakup girls and try to figure out what he keeps doing wrong.

In his grumpy funk, Rob can be a pretty grating guy, but Cusack's script and performance strike exactly the right balance between self-indulgent brooding and caustic comedy.

Directed by Stephen Frears ("Dangerous Liaisons," "The Snapper") with wall-to-wall wry, observational wit and fantastic attention to detail, "High Fidelity" is in many ways a mature and more accomplished extension of Cusack's teen comedies of the 1980s.

In addition to Rob, the poster-boy for romantic dysfunction and Generation X ennui, the movie is populated by three-dimensional version of stock characters from those teen flicks.

Tim Robbins plays the falsely-sensitive granola that Laura takes up with after leaving Rob. He's an "I can't believe she left me for that schmuck!" caricature of the way every guy sees his exes' new beaux.

Catherine Zeta-Jones (in an comical twist on the Unattainable Dream Girl character) and Lily Taylor (as an over-medicated former Misery Chick) have two-scene roles as Rob's No. 3 and No. 4 Worst-Ever Breakups. And instead of just being The Destiny Girl, Hjejle gets to develop the emerging maturity that leads her character to abandon Rob's perpetually pubescent world when she took a well-paying office job and let go her punk club-bunny roots.

Certainly one of the Top Five Best-Ever Breakup Movies, the spirit of "High Fidelity" comes from its underground mood, its continuous supply of hilariously perceptive asides (about, for instance, the science of making someone a mix tape) and its whimsical but realistic characters.

These elements -- plus Cusack's geeky charm and Frears' skilled direction -- distinguish "Hi Fi" from the vastly inferior and never-ending flow of soundtrack-driven, assembly-line romantic comedies that strive for nothing more than momentary hipness.

"High Fidelity" may be dated by its music and setting, but it will stand the test of time because it captures this generation's most common relationship foibles so amusingly.



High Fidelity

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st March 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $47.1M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Buena Vista, Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 149 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Rob Gordon, as Laura, as Dick, as Barry, as Marie DeSalle, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Charlie Nicholson, as Liz, as Ian 'Ray' Raymond, as Vince, as Justin, as Sarah Kendrew, as Penny Hardwick, as Caroline Fortis, Shannon Stillo as Alison Jr. High, as Rob Jr. High, Laura Whyte as Laura's Mom, as Anaugh, Rich Talarico as Barry's Customer, Matthew O'Neill as Beta Band Customer (as Matt O'Neill), Brian Powell as Middle Aged Customer, Margaret Travolta as Rob's Mom, as Himself, Jill Peterson as Laura's Sister Jo, as Minister, Susan Yoo as Girl - 19 year old, as Paul, K. K. Dodds as Miranda, as Alison's Mom, Duke Doyle as Kevin Bannister, Aaron Himelstein as Boy In Park, Jonathan Herrington as Chris Thompson, Daniel Lee Smith as Rock Guy, Leah Gale as Mourner, David Darlow as Mourner, Erik Gundersen as Marco, Alex Désert as Louis (as Alex Desert), Alan S. Johnson as Man In Store, Ian Belknap as Party Guest, Andrew Micheli as Party Guest, Polly Noonan as Party Guest, Philip Rayburn Smith as Party Guest, Michele Graff as Party Guest, as Party Guest, Liam Hayes as Piano Player, Damian Rogers as Greenday Girl, Robert A. Villanueva as Skateboarder, Joe Spaulding as Flea Market Musician, Scott A. Martin as Bartender, Heather Norris as Laura's Friend

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.