I didn’t really know much about this movie when I decided to rent it. What I did know was that Elisha Cuthbert (24) starred and it sounded like it wouldn’t be a total waste of the evening, plus I was so ready for something different. What I came away with was mixed emotions about this little gem.
Charlie (Jesse Bradford) is a straight–laced, A+ college student whose his parents always hoped that he would become a manager in training for the Tiller Tractor Company, and eventually it became his dream also – sort of. He’s right in the middle of achieving that when he meets Jordan (Cuthbert). She’s a free-spirited girl who on this particular evening is quite tipsy. Raised to be a gentleman with principles, Charlie rescues Jordan from being hit by a train and then after she passes out, he takes her to his apartment to recover. With nothing to go by as to who the woman is or why she whispered “darling” to him right before fainting, Charlie is puzzled by her and he’s even more so when, on their second meeting she also passes out.
Such unconventional meetings lead Jordan to get to know Charlie and with time the two begin dating. Eventually Charlie falls in love with the sassy Jordan who seems to tell Charlie exactly what he must do in their relationship – from her preferred flowers to dates in a special restaurant. Despite his love, Charlie begins to feel that rather than a positive influence, Jordan may be his ruin if he keeps up their relationship.
Watching My Sassy Girl your initial reaction consists of it being quirky at best and outright weird but there is an underlying quality that for some reason endears it to us. There are some especially special sequences but also several trite elements that lead this movie into cheap, cartoon segments all of which earn a bewildered look from us and a rolling of eyes at the ridiculous nature of it. These are from the stories Jordan writes which she calls “therapy” – included are scenes that feel out of place giving everything the look of amateur filmmaking – if creators wanted Jordan to write, “acting” out the stories wasn’t needed, as it fell flat for any comic effect along with a particularly odd confrontation with a battered soldier. Jordan also has a quirky personality that encompasses her randomly “slapping” people or believing in destiny which is yet another reason this film is nothing if not unique. All of this is countered by some moving sequences that prompt the viewer to continue hoping this would blossom into the charming romance it could be rather than turn it off before ten minutes has passed and the ending alone makes one glad to have stuck with it. Before it’s ruined by Jordan’s crazed “hockey stick episode,” the skating scene was beautiful and before she passes out, the dancing sequence energetic.
Sticking out like a sore thumb – forgetting about the good or bad, is the fact that Jordan is an alcoholic, no matter how you slice it. Though not for “traditional” reasons she still made the decision everyday to get up and self destruct. Because of that there are numerous moments where it’s said by Charlie’s talking commentary that their night was cut short because of Jordan's habit. Surprisingly enough aside from that element, there isn’t a lot of material to be concerned with. My Sassy Girl is a combination of a dark comedy, and a screenplay that is actually too distinctive to ignore (most the time) while the sweet romance is charming, but does have to appeal to the right viewer. For me, I didn’t want to turn it off because most of its comedy was “real” meaning that it wasn’t contrived and watching it doesn’t make you feel as if you really shouldn’t find the situations funny; the last twenty or so minutes make the film worth seeing and you finally begin to understand Jordan’s attitude, and while it doesn’t excuse her at least there is sympathy. The story as we come to find out isn’t exceptional but is special. While I wish the film would have been made by someone who would have seen its ultimate potential (it’s based on a foreign film), I’m glad to have seen it.
(What to know: Rated PG13 because there is use of an f-word as is the standard sprinkling of profanity. Charlie’s friend scopes out women in order to decide whether or not he’d have sex with them. He makes fun of Charlie’s limited sexuality, a remark is made about a couple not having slept together yet, using a crude reference to male anatomy [there may be other mild insinuations]. People often stare at Charlie for the odd picture he makes with Jordan slouched in his lap or draped over him when drunk in various different positions and the first time it happens, he’s concerned about touching her inappropriately.)