Tag Archives: D+

ME MYSELF I

The “What If?” genre of movie dramedy has been a cinematic
staple for a long while–“It’s a Wonderful Life” is an obvious
example, and “Peggy Sue Got Married” gave the idea a twist in
1985. Of late, however, we’ve been been getting entirely
too many mediocre specimens of the type–“Sliding Doors,” for
instance, and the even worse “Twice Upon a Yesterday.” This
debut feature written and directed by Australian Pip Karmel,
the editor of “Shine,” represents a further decline, not
least because it stars Rachel Griffiths, a fine performer
(“Muriel’s Wedding,” “Jude,” “My Son the Fanatic,” “Hilary and
Jackie”) who’s here reduced to playing the sort of essentially
empty role that might be assigned to Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan
in a Hollywood version of the story. It’s a waste of her
talent.

Griffiths plays Pam Drury, a successful writer who’s despondent
at not having a “significant other” when she turns thirty.
After contemplating suicide, she stumbles into a “miraculous”
circumstance whereby she changes places with her alternate
self, who’s married to the guy Pam has always considered “the
one who got away” and is the mother of his three children.
During her sojourn in another life Pam learns the esoteric
principle about the grass always being greener on the other
side of the fence; and though she returns to her former
existence with some residual nostalgia for “what might have
been,” she’s now a better, more confident person with a real
future (including, as it turns out, a potential beau).

It should be clear from the preceding that “Me Myself I” is a
pat, predictable piece, a trite and formulaic fantasy that
never escapes the obvious. Griffiths struggles to put some
depth into the central character, but her attempts are
sabotaged by Karmel’s approach to the material, which fails
to rise above the sitcom level; and none of the other cast
members generate much spice. The result is a little
Australian flick trying to be a mainstream American crowd-
pleaser and failing miserably. There may be a few stateside
viewers willing to be taken in by such mushy malarkey, but they
certainly won’t be very numetous. (They’ll probably find
especially offensive the film’s implicit premise that a woman
can’t possibly find fulfillment on her own; her sense of self-
worth, the script seems lamely to suggest, must necessarily be
dependent on her locating a suitable man.)

Indeed, the only saving grace about the picture is that it
mercifully shows us only half of the “Pam switch.” It would
have been truly torturous to watch the married version enter
into the life of our single heroine, too. The portion of the
tale that we have to endure is quite bad enough, thank you.