Anger Management (2003)

The Game

I can’t tell you whether you will like this movie. But I can tell you what they did in putting it together to make you like it.

For a long time, professional screenwriters have been leveraging the effects of “folded narrative.” That’s where there is in some way: a movie or a play or a game within the movie. The theory is that if the levels of the movie and the movie within are mixed up a bit, the viewer will subliminally mix his/her own reality with that of the movie and become more engaged.

There have been a blizzard of romantic comedies that exploit this in all sorts of novel ways. In one week, I re-saw “Notting Hill” (the first of the recent batch), “Wimbleton” (the most recent as of this writing) and this. All three and about a dozen in the last year have some “game within” subtext. All end with a very public proclamation of love to the audience within the movie. They cheer, we cheer.

This crew experimented with the form earlier in “Wedding Singer”, and in a more creative way in “50 First Dates” (where every day was the movie over again).

In this edition, the “film“ within is an elaborately staged game like Michael Douglas endured in “The Game”. Along the way we get an amazing parade of name actors, some merely recognisable and a few masters of folded acting.

I’ve said it before. Nicholson gets better as he ages. He’s not afraid to grow and still experiment. Contrast this with DeNiro who hasn’t been marginally interesting in decades, instead doing parodies of his own decline.

Posted in 2005

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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