HIGH FIDELITY

Director Stephen Frears
Year 2000
Starring John Cusack, Lili Taylor, Jack Black, Joan Cusack
Rating R
Run Time 123min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

Part of The Alamo Goes to '11'; our month-long celebration of music in movies!

 

“What came first the music or the misery…Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

There’s really no more populist choice for best male romantic comedy lead than John Cusack. Pop culture aficionado Chuck Klosterman wrote his great essay, “This is Emo” with that notion in mind. Basically, throughout the ‘80s John Cusack became the nice guy every girl felt they should fall in love with.

That’s what makes his performance in HIGH FIDELITY so interesting and complicated. He’s a thirty something that owns a record store and is obsessed about music. Unlike Cusack’s earlier movie persona, Rob isn’t a good guy. He’s a funny guy. He’s a smart guy. And, on the occasional night out, he’s a charming guy. He’s not necessarily a bad guy, but he’s not a good guy…yet.

After his girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle) dumps him he does what any of us would do. He recounts his top five failed relationships in his head, which allows us to see the pre-pubescent Rob, the teenage Rob, the college Rob, and the young adult Rob and we realize he hasn’t come too far. He stalks Laura at the apartment where she’s staying, which makes us all seem a little less crazy. He tries to find solace with his two cohorts who work at the record store he owns ( Jack Black and Todd Louiso). None of it really helps.

Cusack wrote the script with his writing partners from GROSSE POINTE BLANK. It’s based off of Nick Hornby’s honest look at dating, maturing and accepting. It pretty much nails Hornby’s tone and style even while moving the setting from London to Chicago. The unexpected choice of British director Stephen Frears even works as the film has a great sense of purpose while seeming incredibly loose and funny.

By the end HIGH FIDELITY reaches the apex of what a great romantic comedy should be without seeming like it was trying to in the first place. (R.J. LaForce)

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