It always feels good when you go into a film with very little expectations. Such as the case with Griffin and Phoenix, other than Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding), who is apparently in every fricken movie that involves the words “romantic” or “comedy”. While Griffin and Phoenix is a mite bit romantic and its story is hardly new, its execution makes things a bit more pleasant.
Written by John Hill, who originally wrote a 1976 TV movie of the same name, and di…ected by Ed Stone (who wrote Happy, Texas), Griffin (Mulroney) plays a man who finds out that he is dying of cancer, and while in a class that is designed to help cope with his disease, he meets Phoenix (Amanda Peet, The Whole Nine Yards). The two spend a memorable night together without any large physical displays of affection, and their friendship grows into something more. And while Griffin prepares to try and tell Phoenix about his situation, he is floored by a secret that Phoenix has been keeping.
Now after reading that last paragraph, it sure doesn’t sound like anything that you haven’t read before. But there’s something in the way that Mulroney and Peet approach the roles, not to mention the chemistry that they share on screen, that really makes it fun to watch. Another way to best put it is that at the end of the day, even if you know and have defining features on what your perceptions of death may be, the urge and desire to want to be loved still rules over anything you can think of. When I watched this the first time, I watched it with my wife, the best compliment I can say is that we both had to stop what we were doing to watch this, because the film sported a charm that really made things nice to watch.
1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for the eyes to enjoy. The New York backgrounds look decent and the transfer is pristine for the most part, and the film grain is present throughout the film.
Dig it, there’s a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack to pore over. And the soundtrack does pretty well, with songs reproduced clearly and accurately, and there’s even use of the surround speakers on some sequences.
The extras on this disc are as empty as are the chances of the leads overcoming the illnesses they have in the film.
Griffin and Phoenix is definitely worth seeing with your special someone, as it takes the notion of a romantic comedy and puts things into a new perspective. The leads both take to their parts well, the story is nice enough, and it’s worth seeing at least once if you’ve never seen Love Story. Is it one to own in your collection? That’s your call to make, not mine.