Described in the credits as "science fiction" (a pretty loose use of the term), The Girl From Monday represents another genre leap for Hartley, following his 2001 Beauty and the Beast fantasy, No Such Thing. Well, if you're a typical sci-fi fan, be forewarned: There are no special effects -- minus thugs in funny helmets -- and there's really nothing terribly innovative in the storyline department.
Continue reading: The Girl From Monday Review
The guy is Rand (John Livingston), a computer graphics designer working with two partners on a 3-D animated bird figure (Koy Koy) that learns from and responds to voiced expressions, taking the concept of interactivity to a higher level. They're doing the breakthrough work for a Japanese client who asks them to install the software in a kindergarten class for a real world test of the product. Rand balks, worried that his creation may not be ready for public exposure, but his partners in the San Francisco startup venture, Winston (Bruno Campos) and Johnson (Reuben Grundy), recognize the wisdom behind the request and override Rand's objections.
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While these bookend scenes are uncharacteristically clunkyand deliberate, full of exposition designed to set the fictional stage,the two parallel stories are pure Woody Allen at his ironic, neurotic,romantic, poignant and peculiar best -- and they're deftly woven togetherto compliment and play off each other.
The underappreciated Radha Mitchell (she played wives in"FindingNeverland," "PhoneBooth" and "Manon Fire") may now get the recognition shedeserves with her remarkable performances in the dual title role as a flighty,suicidal beauty who arrives in each story by crashing a dinner party.
One Melinda is a new downstairs neighbor who knocks onthe Upper East Side door of wannabe filmmaker Amanda Peet (who flirts withrich men hoping they'll fund her independent movie "The CastrationSonata") and her husband, neurotic out-of-work actor Will Ferrell(the picture's requisite Woody surrogate, although with unpredicted nuanceFerrell makes the role his own). Pratfalling into the dining room, Melindaannounces she's just taken two dozen sleeping pills. The comical chaosthat ensues leads to friendships, infidelities and unrequited love, allorbiting around Melinda -- although she's largely unaware of the upheavalshe's wrought.
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He's certainly not wasting his newfound talents.