The lives of three young people - a rich student, a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks" and her boyfriend - unexpectedly intersect during one fateful summer in the romantic drama "Here on Earth." Kelley Morse (Chris Klein), who is cocky and brash, normally would never have crossed paths with the residents of a small town near his posh private school. But when he takes his shiny new Mercedes out for a drive, he locks horns with some of the locals, including Jasper (Josh Hartnett). As Jasper's willful girlfriend Samantha (Leelee Sobieski) looks on, Kelley and Jasper engage in a dangerous car race that turns disastrous, leaving a popular diner owned by Samantha's mother in ruins. Kelley and Jasper are sentenced to a creatively ironic but fitting punishment: They must help rebuild the diner. Not only does this ruin Kelley's summer plans, he also must board at the home of his rival, Jasper. Kelley begins to fulfill his "sentence," but refuses to have anything to do with Jasper and his...Written by
A Nicolas Sparks movie from the perspective of the guy who gets punched....
*MILD SPOILERS* - Hey, you know how there's always that one guy in every Nicolas Sparks movie (usually rich and spoiled) who makes a crude remark about the hero's girlfriend and then gets punched out in a public place (usually a wedding reception or a party)? Well, if you've ever wanted to see HIS story, this is the movie for you! Even though this came out 2 years BEFORE A Walk to Remember, it came out a year after the book - I don't know if someone at 20th Century Fox ordered some writers "hey - make a movie kinda like this book NOW!", but what I do know is this movie sticks closer to the Sparks formula even moreso than AWTR! Besides Sparks standards like a small town, disapproving parents, class issues, disease, and death, this one throws in future Sparks tropes that were missing - love scene in the rain, multiple montages of people building or renovating something (usually a boat, tractor or a house; here a diner), a love triangle with a "nice guy", and a PG-13, shot from the shoulders-up sex scene - they're all here. All we're missing is handwritten letters in a box and a North Carolina coastal setting and this would actually be the ultimate Sparks movie. I wonder if he consciously or subconsciously borrowed a bunch from this movie - a true Who Made Who? situation.
But is it any good? It's entertaining and watchable, but it's also head-scratchingly wrongheaded in concept or execution. The main character is arrogant, he's sleazy, he's ungrateful, he makes fun of poor people - it seems like they're setting up some kind of redemption story, but then they forgot to film the redemption parts! He's just as big an a-hole at the end as he was at the beginning, and we're supposed to root for him for some reason as he steals another guy's girlfriend, then treats her like crap, then leaves and disses the entire town, then comes back like nothing happened. It might make some sense if Chris Klein showed any of his aw-shucks, goofy persona (from Election and American Pie, etc...) but he's simultaneously unlikable and uninteresting here, not to mention he bears a striking resemblance to mass murderer Elliot Rodger. I mean, look at his smug look on the cover, you're about to get a whole movie of that. This is the first Chris Klein movie where I don't want to hang out with his character (and yes this includes Street Fighter).
Why are we supposed to cheer on Leelee Sobieski as she cheats on her boyfriend with this guy? They have zero chemistry and they never portray her boyfriend as anything less than a good guy, and I'd argue more women would choose Josh Hartnett over Chris Klein- it's mind-boggling that we're supposed to sympathize with her as she makes out with Klein RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER BOYFRIEND'S BEST FRIEND and he's supposed to be the bad guy for ratting them out? As a Paul Verhoeven-esque satire of the tragic romance genre, this kinda works, but viewed straight it's kind of unbelievable that they released this movie without major reshoots or re-writes.
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