Any film that opens with Chris O’Dowd talking directly to the camera is starting on the right foot as far as I’m concerned–I find his attitude and sense of off-kilter humor irresistible. In Juliet, Naked he plays a man who is obsessed with a onetime singer/songwriter who has long since disappeared. His entire existence is given over to pretentious babbling about Tucker Crowe for a small but fanatical fan base online.
After fifteen years, his girlfriend (Rose Byrne) is at the end of her rope. She questions their relationship and her very existence in a boring seaside village where she runs the historical museum she inherited from her father. One day she posts a response to one of her husband’s essays about a long-lost demo recording by Crowe and receives a response from Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) himself. He’s about to travel to the UK and wants to meet her, which is how and why the plot thickens.
A novel by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) inspired this smart, refreshing comedy, with screenplay credit going to Evgenia Peretz and the team of Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins. All the ironies and absurdities of the script are fully realized by director Jesse Peretz (a veteran of such TV series as Girls and New Girl) and a perfectly-chosen cast. It doesn’t hurt to have Judd Apatow as one of your producers.
Although the comedic elements run the gamut from subtle to broad, the characters remain believable throughout. There is an unforced quality to the film that I find very appealing: it’s fresh and original, and the cast simply couldn’t’ be better. Hawke even gets to sing and, as we heard in the Chet Baker biopic Born to be Blue, he’s quite good.
Tired of formula-driven films? Try Juliet, Naked.