JULIET, NAKED is a British/American production set in both London and the U.S. based on the best selling novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. The novel is described as a sensitive modern tale illustrating the effect the internet can have on a romantic relationship. The film gets that message across, though it feels like a romantic comedy without a happy Hollywood ending, which means that audiences might have difficulty liking this film. JULIET, NAKED is not half bad, but it is not barely half good, falling flat and dragging along for a major part.
The story centres on Annie (Rose Byrne) who when the film opens, has relationship problems with long term boyfriend, Duncan (Chris O’Dowd). Duncan, a professor at a local university has an obsession with singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). He is head of the Tucker Crowe website and knows all the works and songs of Crowe. When a packet of Crowe songs arrives in the mail that Annie opens and listens to, Duncan becomes clearly upset that she has not only opened his mail but listened to Crowe before him. Duncan also begins an affair with a new professor, that he confesses to Anne. This is total wishy-washy behaviour and the audience is only too glad to see Annie kick him out of the house.
As the story goes on, Annie meets Crowe in person and begins an affair with him. The brown stuff hits the fan when Duncan finds out. Not only does Duncan accuse Annie of doing this to get back at him, but he begins disagreeing with Crowe about his work.
If all this sounds too serious, the film is not, and a lot of humour is injected into the story so that the film can still be labelled as a romantic comedy. But it is one with a difference as it does not follow the beaten path of the Harlequin-styled story.
All three actors are excellent in their roles. It is always a pleasure to watch Rose Byrne (NEIGHBOURS and NEIGHBOURS 2) who is always good in anything she is in. Ethan Hawke, known for his fondness in blues and music gets to sing a few of the songs featured in the film. O’Dowd who has proven himself proficient in drama (CALVARY) and in comedy (BRIDESMAIDS) makes an unlikable character both likeable and sympathetic.
The film has a few odd segments. One is the problematic hospital segment where all of Crowe’s children from multiple partners all show up at the hospital when he suffers an unexpected heart attack. How would they all show up together when they were so difficult to even meet is one question. They argue and bicker to no end and then are never seen again during the movie. Annie first meets Crowe at the hospital too and any logical person would have left Crowe or any such person with so much baggage.
JULIET, NAKED is at least good for a few laughs with a few well timed jokes.