From the moment we hear Hugh Grant’s distinctive voice, we know exactly what to expect. Grant’s Keith Michaels is a one hit wonder screenwriter, desperately seeking something that will pay the bills. With ideas of film related projects in mind, Michaels reluctantly accepts a job somewhat less glamorous than he had previously hoped for.
Binghamton is rainy and bleak and, with his glory days a distant memory, Michaels embarks on his new career as the university’s creative writing professor. ‘Professor’ is used rather loosely here as Grant, true to form, enacts the character of a rather gauche yet charming English man who’s first tutorial lasts a grand total of five minutes and ends with the nonchalant statement along the lines of “we’ll meet again in a month”. Let us not forget Michael’s chosen method of deduction when faced with a mountain of potential tutees’ screenplays – a game of ‘Hot or Not?’, naturally.
Aside from the witty one liners delivered by Grant, romance is of course prevalent (it’s a Marc Lawrence film, need I say more?) Michael’s inappropriate relationship with significantly younger student Karen is hardly original. However, it serves as a prelude to his blossoming rapport with Holly, a mature student. Marisa Tomei is a breath of fresh air to Grant’s predictable and familiar character. It is through Tomei’s role, that the film is transformed from a plot many of us are well acquainted with to a search for self-discovery, whilst maintaining a light hearted tone. Holly can be seen as a foil to the character of Michael, she is tenacious and highly optimistic and it is as a result of her advice that we see him develop a passion for teaching and face personal issues.
The Rewrite is far from innovative. However, the familiarity ensures that viewers with a penchant for romantic comedies are not disappointed. It’s a fine of example of Grant and Lawrence doing what they do best.