Juliet, Naked Review

Juliet, Naked - Theatrical Poster

2018 has been a very good year for romantic comedies. So far, we’ve had Set It Up, Crazy Rich Asians, and Love, Simon, just to name a few. But Nick Hornby is a man whose book adaptations are a welcome sight to those who love romantic comedies. Fever Pitch and High Fidelity are key examples of some of his best work. Although Juliet, Naked isn’t as good as the other cult classic films, it’s still a charming and hilarious romantic film.

Juliet, Naked follows Duncan and Annie, a couple who have been together for many years. However, Duncan has another love in his life: Tucker Crowe. His obsession with Tucker leads to a series of events where Annie meets Tucker and begins to fall in love with him.

Juliet, Naked - Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, and Chris O'Dowd

When it comes to a film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s work, you know what you’re going to get. Basically a sweet and heartwarming film. Now, the latest adaptation is no different. There’s just something inherently sweet about Juliet, Naked. Much of that is due to the character development of the two main characters.

These characters have layers and a ton of issues. After all, nothing says “I have issues” than a drug-using aging rock star with tons of kids. The same can be said for Annie, who’s stuck in a dead-end relationship with someone that doesn’t really truly care for her. As a result, they’re not the perfect couple as seen in other romantic comedies. That’s why we attach ourselves to them and get warm feelings whenever they try to be better for people they love. But these moments don’t always pan out in films. Thankfully, Juliet, Naked is able to pull these moments off.

Not only is this film heartwarming, though, but it’s also hilarious as well. The film’s commentary about blogging “experts” is quite amusing to watch. In fact, most of the laughs from the film comes from Duncan’s obsession with Tucker Crowe. Sure, it pokes fun at bloggers and vloggers like us, but one can’t help but laugh at it.

Juliet, Naked - Rose Byrne & Ethan Hawke

Be that as it may, the film takes its sweet time developing the relationship between Tucker and Annie. The You’ve Got Mail scenario drags the first act quite a bit. Not to mention, one may have to suspend disbelief when it comes to how they meet. Especially with the idea that a washed-up rocker would connect with a mysterious forum poster on a website that celebrates him. It’s a bit weird if you read it in that way. It’s true that a lot of romantic comedies thrive off of beautiful coincidences but this one stretches it.

Nevertheless, Ethan Hawke shines as Tucker Crowe. There’s just a inherent goodness in his performance that makes you root for the guy. His willingness to try and be a good father is infectious. Not to mention, he gives his character so much depth too. Does he have the look of an old rocker? Not really. However, he does outshine everyone else in the film.

Rose Byrne finally is able to let her natural British accent go here. She brings a charm and wit to her character. Yet she doesn’t bring anything else to her performance. It’s pretty generic by romantic comedy standards. Chris O’Dowd is absolutely hilarious as Duncan. He embodies the snobby and opinionated fanboy and steals the film in every scene he’s in. Sadly, he doesn’t have that big of a role. Unsurprisingly, he’s put aside to focus on the relationship between Tucker and Annie.

Overall, Juliet, Naked is a charming and heartwarming romantic comedy. In a year that’s given us a bevy of amazing romantic comedies, Juliet doesn’t stand above the others. Then again, the cast is phenomenally hilarious and extremely relatable.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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