Light Comedy + Light Romance = A Decent Watch
Barefoot, the latest indie romance, might have had a disappointing opening weekend, but it does have its own unique charm.
Barefoot tells the story of Daisy (Evan Rachel Wood) a mentally ill young woman who has been institutionalized after being raised by a reclusive helicopter mom. At the hospital, she meets Jay (Scott Speedman) the black sheep of a WASPy upper-class family. In order to hit up his dad for cash, Jay takes Daisy with him to his brotherâ€™s wedding, to prove how responsible he is.
The movie is a bit predictable. Of course, it is learned that there is more to Daisy than meets the eye and it all gets resolved when Daisy shows how stunning she is in an evening dress. But itâ€™s a cute, not entirely light comedy, which is worth a few laughs.
Wood makes this movie sparkle, with her portrayal of the incredibly naive and inexperienced Daisy. She plays the part with childlike innocence, while at the same time bringing seriousness to the part with flashbacks.
The fact that Daisy is mentally ill is a bit sugar coated, and the movie makes metal illness seem like it could just be a quirk rather than a serious problem. Among other problems is Speedmanâ€™s character.
As a recent parolee with a gambling problem, Speedman has a lot to overcome to make his character likeable. Unfortunately, he didnâ€™t and Jay comes off as a real jerk. You almost want him to fail, because he is that unbearable. It would have played better if the character was a bit more sympathetic. Instead, they made the guy the requisite dirt bag, which made it hard to root for him
Iâ€™m a little bit reminded of the 90â€™s cult hit Bennie and Joon. Of course, that one approaches the issues faced with a mentally ill couple a little bit more seriously, but itâ€™s the same general idea. While Barefoot is nowhere near as fantastic as Benny and Joon, and is too formulaic to have the same unique charm, it is a watchable movie.
Itâ€™s a little too sugary sweet to make it a compelling classic. Despite that fact that it is a reasonably unique story, it does follow a lot of the same clichÃ©d plot lines of any romantic comedy. But it is not a bad movie, just a bit predictable. In addition, the secondary characters werenâ€™t really fleshed out like they should have been.
Sometimes, Daisy is a bit too naive and sweet, to the point where it gets a little irritating. Like when she keeps asking people; â€™why do you wear shoes like that?â€™ Yeah, we get it. Daisy likes to go around barefoot, hence the name. Now move on.
The direction is reasonable, with good transitions between flashbacks and current events. The movie is a bit like a 1930s screwball comedy, with a bit of light romance thrown in. While it is hardly going to light the world on fire, clever timing and the sweetness of Woodsâ€™ character give the movie real heart.