Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dear John

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom

Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins.

Rating: 1/10

This is advertised as a love story but is in actual fact a stupid, soulless piece of rubbish that never gives any insight whatsoever into the complicated human heart. Over the course of two weeks a young, rich, free spirit Savannah (Seyfried) and a hunky, emotionally troubled G.I., John (Tatum), fall madly, deeply in love. However, he must go back off to war and they can only communicate through love letters. That is the premise for the whole film. A relationship between an angry, mean man and a stupid, complacent woman that is based on a mere two weeks of giggling and kissing in the rain. It isn’t much to invest in and so it’s difficult to care when it all goes predictably awry.

That is, until the sad, “poignant” ending that we know is sad because of the swelling music and longing looks between the leads. The problem is, it’s impossible to get sucked into this lifeless, emotionally manipulative tale of staunch patriotism and airy fairy idiot girls.

Channing Tatum is, as always, a massive hulking meathead with a sensitive soul. He’s effective I suppose but his character is so thinly drawn that it’s difficult to even appreciate his performance. His love interest, Amanda Seyfried, sparkles as always and is thoroughly charming but again, her character is so remarkably dim that it is difficult to empathise with her. Richard Jenkins does well in his role as Tatum’s autistic father. His character is by far the most interesting in the film but is unfortunately sidelined to make room for the flimsy love story.

If you’re a teenager who writes Channing Tatum’s name in little love hearts all over your copies, you’re going to love Dear John. Otherwise, you’ll most likely find it to be one of the most offensively stupid films ever made. The knowledge that it comes from the writer of the notoriously tearjerking The Notebook conjures an image of a smug yuppie sitting in a plush L.A. office laughing at how easy it is to make people cry. However, I can’t imagine this schtick working the tear ducts of the masses.

Humourless, brainless and a complete waste of time; this is a chore to watch and has an extremely unsatisfying ending. For your own good, give this one a miss.

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