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Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine Sizzle in Otherwise Forgettable May-December Romantic Dramedy 'The Idea of You'

"I could be your mother."

The reimagining of the romantic comedy hit several highs in the past few years, namely with "Ticket to Paradise" and "Anyone But You" becoming box office blockbusters. At a time when several major studios are keeping their romantic comedies to their streaming options, the genre is seeing an explosion of interest in movie theaters on a global scale. One such entry to the genre, "The Idea of You," debuts on May 2, 2024, but distributor Amazon has chosen to release the movie to Prime Video instead of letting the box office take control.

That's a shame for "The Idea of You" stars Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine, not to mention the film's comedy icon director, Michael Showalter ("Wet Hot American Summer"). Based on the novel of the same name by Robinne Lee, the movie has bonafide credits behind it. Not only was it a successful book when it was released in 2018, the film adaptation is produced by Hathaway and actor Gabrielle Union and co-written by Showalter and Jennifer Westfeldt ("Friends With Kids").

Yet, audiences will have to watch the new romantic dramedy from the comfort of their own homes, much like Amazon's recent rollout of the Jake Gyllenhaal-led "Road House" last March. The film version is a bit disjointed and lacks some of the earned emotion that fans of the novel might expect from a rom-dramedy. Still, changes to the book's ending and some central characters might make even the most devoted fan pleased with the updates the filmmakers have made.

"The Idea of You" stars Anne Hathaway as 40-year-old single divorced mom Solène, who strikes up a romance with 24-year-old lead singer Hayes Campbell of the boy band August Moon. The two hit it off while Solène accompanies her teenage daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) to the Coachella Music Festival, igniting a sizzling and often confusing relationship that must be kept secret. As Solène throws caution to the wind and accompanies Hayes on his band's European tour, the walls of her world and increasing family responsibilities close in around her.

Solène is not just a mom…she's a Subaru art gallery-owning mom. Hayes isn't just an aging boy bander…he's an art-loving, sensitive aging boy bander. If one were to recall the premise of "Notting Hill" and give it a seductive May-December twist, you'd have this movie.

What begins as a whirlwind romance becomes something strikingly similar to love. However, the irony of their romance and Solène's cheating ex-husband with a younger woman becomes fodder by the film's second act. Hayes has dreams of going solo because, of course, he does. Imagine Harry Styles and his association with his former boy band, One Direction, and you might get a feel for what Hayes and his worldview are currently like.

As the world learns who Solène is and the age gap between the two lovers becomes glaringly apparent, their relationship begins to suffer, as does Solène's connection with Izzy. A push-and-pull, a will-they-won't-they mentality starts to take over, and the tension of their once-grand love affair grows throughout the third act. 

The movie could have easily derailed if not for Michael Showalter's careful consideration of the justification for comedy and how it helps bridge the gap between devastation and acceptance. Much like he did with "The Big Sick," the director understands his characters, and his script with Westfeldt presents a plausible outcome for two very different individuals. Though the movie sometimes veers into odd directions, including a tremendously underutilized Annie Mumolo as Solène's best friend, the premise still sticks the landing when the credits roll.

"The Idea of You" doesn't break barriers in romantic comedies or strengthen the idea that age gaps have no gender. It is a sweet movie that deserves notice upon its release. The film is a contemporary look at relationships with sexy chemistry between the two leads, nothing more, nothing less. 

What more do you want from a romantic comedy?

Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟1/2


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