Blithe fluff

Reiner’s Alex & Emma entertaining, superficial fluff.

Starring Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson. Directed by Rob Reiner. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0 Seeing that I’ve set myself up as a cinematic cynical bastard, you’d expect that I’d hate this one, right? Guess again.

Granted, as romantic comedies go, Rob Reiner’s Alex & Emma is sorta thin (despite being a distortion of the circumstances surrounding the writing of Dostoevsky’s The Gambler, of all sources), but it does manage to be amusing throughout and delivers with all the expected amenities.

Given a 30-day deadline from the Cuban loan sharks who backed him a hundred grand for an unsuccessful bout of gambling, writer’s-blocked novelist Alex Sheldon (Luke Wilson) is compelled to recruit stenographer Emma (Kate Hudson) to dictate his new novel (seems the thugs torched his computer to prove how serious they were). Of course, her fingers come with a price as she challenges his creative choices at every turn, as well she should.

The story-within-a-story that unfolds comes across as a Merchant-Ivory movie scripted by Danielle Steele. But since the only purpose it serves is to hook Emma and Alex up (and to give Hudson the opportunity to play a handful of ethnic caricatures), the story serves its purpose. Completely superficial fluff that blithely ignores anything approaching internal logic, Alex & Emma makes for an amusing sitting for precisely that reason.