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May 14, 2024 08:19AM ● By Jenniffer Wardell

Credit for photo ©Universal

The Fall Guy (in theaters)

“The Fall Guy” is a cinematic treasure.

It has everything you could possibly want in a movie: Serious action. Tender, emotional romance. Excellent, natural comedy. Ryan Gosling at his absolute finest. Emily Blunt at her absolute finest. A fantastic supporting cast. The power of friendship. Dogs who know French and bite people. Why you should never piss off stunt people. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll be on the edge of your seat.

Without spoiling anything for you, the movie features Ryan Gosling as a down-on-his-luck stuntman who gets hired for a movie where his ex is the director. Unfortunately, the big star has vanished. If Gosling’s character wants the movie to continue (and save the career of his ex, who he’s still in love with), he’s got to track the actor down and get him back on set.

Of course, it’s considerably more complicated than that, and Gosling is down for all of it. He’s always been great at comedy, though not nearly enough movies gave him the chance to show it off. He’s also great at action comedy, it turns out, and I need Hollywood to get him in more movies like this as soon as humanly possible. He also hasn’t turned his back on his romance roots, and there are moments when he will genuinely get you choked up.

Emily Blunt matches him beat for beat. She’s luminous, funny, just a little bit heartbreaking, and able to throw a pretty good punch herself. Hannah Waddingham and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are both hilarious, Winston Duke is a delight every moment he’s onscreen, and Stephanie Hsu is great.

Together, they make a movie you’re going to want to see again and again and again.

Grade: Four stars

The Idea of You (Prime Video)

The right leads can turn something solid into something special.

That’s definitely the case with “The Idea of You,” which marks Anne Hathaway’s triumphant return to romantic comedy. Her nuanced performance elevates everything around her, bringing so many layers to a character that could have come across as a cut-out. Nicholas Galitzine isn’t far behind her, bringing depth to his character’s private moments even if he can’t capture the sparkle of true celebrity. When they get together, you can’t help but care about them.

The plot is pure wish-fulfillment fantasy, following a single mom who falls in love with a former teen pop star after a chance meeting. Though there’s a significant age gap between the two, they quickly fall in love. When the pressures of celebrity and parenthood both start to close in, can their relationship survive?

The book gave a rather stark answer to that question, one that felt jarring given the rest of the book and left a lot of fans disappointed. Director Michael Showalter honors that ending, but gives it a lot more nuance that lets it land in a far more satisfying manner.

The first hour or so is even more satisfying, full of excellent acting and the delicious fun of a well-delivered trope. Hathaway and Galatzine have great chemistry, both during steamier scenes and lighter moments, and watching them together is a delight. Though the last hour of the movie drags a little because it gets too caught up in melodrama, there’s enough sweet, sexy fun here to be worth the experience.

Grade: Three stars

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