Thursday, August 13, 2020

REVIEW: Management (live action movie)

Management is a romantic comedy. I'm pretty sure my copy was gifted to me.


Mike (Steve Zahn) is a directionless loser who works as the night manager at his parents' motel. One day the motel gets a new guest, Sue (Jennifer Aniston). She's clearly way out of Mike's league, but that doesn't stop Mike from falling head over heels for her. He awkwardly (and creepily) attempts to flirt with her, bringing her a "complimentary" bottle of wine that was actually swiped from a storage closet. Although Sue sees through his efforts, they inexplicably work, she lets him touch her butt, and they end up having sex in the laundry room before she leaves. This results in Mike imprinting upon her, and suddenly Sue can't go anywhere without him eventually showing up.

There are a lot of romantic comedies out there that romanticize bad behavior, and this is one of them. I almost didn't make it past the first ten minutes, and if I'd stopped watching, I honestly wouldn't have missed too much.

It was painfully obvious that this wasn't written by a woman. Jennifer Aniston did an admirable job trying to make Sue's behavior seem natural, and Steven Zahn did his best to come across like a hopeful puppy rather than a creepy stalker. Seriously, though, no real woman would have invited the creepy night manager in to uncork her unasked for bottle of wine, or told said creepy night manager that he could touch her butt but then he'd have to leave. When Mike dropped everything, bought a one-way ticket to Maryland, and showed up at Sue's workplace unannounced, no real woman would have agreed to let him tag along for an after-work basketball game, and she certainly wouldn't have allowed him to spend the night in her home.

It was aggravating, because Sue's annoyed moments, taking Mike aside and explaining to him just how insane and inappropriate his behavior was, rang completely true, but then she'd turn around and do utterly stupid and unbelievable things. The movie's whole message was "hey Nice Guys, just keep inserting yourselves in women's lives and eventually they'll see how nice you are and fall in love with you!"

I mean, the movie even had the token rival love interest who was both rich and terrible. I could believe that Sue might be attracted to the good she could accomplish with Jango's money, but I had a tough time believing that she'd be blind to his thuggish moments. In the end, she struck me as someone who was great at work and championing things she cared about, but utterly terrible at relationships. The two men in her life were a guy whose first response to situations that scared or upset him was violence and a creepy "nice guy" who kept stalking her.

An aspect of the movie that I did like? Mike's little family drama involving his mother, who was dying, and his father, who had no real plan for life after his wife's death. But that was just a small part of the movie. The biggest part, the romance, was painful to watch, despite Aniston and Zahn's best efforts to make it sweet. It was nice that Mike clearly didn't mind that Sue would always be the more driven person in their relationship, but it was hard to really appreciate that when their romance started off with so many enormous red flags.


Audio commentary featuring Steve Zahn and director Stephen Belber, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a theatrical trailer. I only watched the gag reel, which had some good moments but also some off-putting moments. Woody Harrelson's decision to adlib a scene and literally lick Aniston's face was disgusting.

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