BARNEY’S VERSION (2011)

TMG Scale 6.0 Joy Lynn says it’s an 8.0
Starring Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike

Barney Panofsky (Giamatti) is boorish, a slob, overweight, obnoxious, unattractive …I could go on…okay a scum sucking pig of a guy.  Most guys would  not even like him. I think most women would find him offensive.  So why do the women in this film find him so attractive?  This film might have been called Paul Giamatti’s Version.  It was too unbelievable to take very seriously.

What was the strangest thing about this movie was it had a total sub plot going on that had seemingly no connection to the main story.  If you ever played the travel game called 20 Questions, the sub movie was a total farce here.  For the too young and the uninformed, 20 Questions often involved a dead body and two or three obtuse clues.  You had to figure out “How did he die?”  by asking yes or no questions.  This type of entertainment ended with the advent of the iPod and phone texting. One of the most famous was “You have a guy lying face down in the woods. His body is smashed and burnt but the woods are soaking wet. How did he die?”  Certainly writer Mordecai Richler knew that not all of us were born just yesterday. Geez!

The movie is otherwise about Barney slobbing his way through life. His first wife is flower child impregnated by one of his friends. And the point is? He then dumps  his equally obnoxious second wife (Driver) for a beautiful woman he meets at his wedding (Pike). He produces incredibly bad  TV shows, somehow has two nice kids and then cheats on his third wife and develops Alzheimers. In the interim, we must endure countless “mazel tov”  toasts and way too much Jewish music, toasts, stories and women’s voices. It’s like being forced to eat ice cubes on top of an ice cream headache. Spare me. What was the purpose of all this? I found it mostly a disrespectful stereotype of Jewish people.

And then the guy from the fire bombing seaplane shows up.  I just need to talk to others about this film before I adjust my rating.  Maybe I missed something. Maybe not.

My Turn by Joy Lynn: This movie deserves a better rating than 6 in my opinion.   I am going to go out on a limb and give this movie an 8 on the TMG scale. This is a detailed character study (my favorite style genre) depicting a flawed, curmudgeon of a fellow named Barney who messes up his life royally. He is a needy man who somehow attracts attractive women.  Some women, attractive or not, prefer needy men, it makes them feel needed! So, in my mind, this was a believable story. I think Giamatti plays the part of Barney Ponofsky very well.  He is a schmuck in this movie,  but somehow I didn’t hate him for it.  Maybe because of his undying romanticism and love for his third wife Miriam.

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