Alex and Emma

Rated 3.0 Novelist Alex (Luke Wilson), menaced by loan sharks and beset by writer’s block, hires stenographer Emma (Kate Hudson) to help him crank out his next novel in time to pay up. The script by Jeremy Leven (with, some say, help from Adam Scheinman, Andrew Scheinman and director Rob Reiner) has a gimmick: Wilson and Hudson play the central characters in the novel (in Hudson’s case, several characters in different “drafts”), a 1920s romantic triangle that also involves sleek, sexy Sophie Marceau. The movie has a crack at the center: we get no firm sense of this “novel” Alex is writing; it sounds banal, certainly not worth the $125 grand he’s going to get for it. But the “real” story compensates. It’s sweetly character-driven and smoothly funny, and Wilson and Hudson’s chemistry is spectacular.