Speechless Blu-ray Review
Just like a great performance can sometimes save an otherwise bad film, a couple’s chemistry can sometimes save a bad romantic comedy. Of course, a complete lack of chemistry can destroy a rom-com and unfortunately for SPEECHLESS, Michael Keaton and Geena Davis had exactly zero chemistry. There were a lot of problems with SPEECHLESS outside of their lack of chemistry and I’m not sure Richard Gere and Julia Roberts could have saved it, but it was hard to get past how badly Keaton and Davis connected.
Keaton plays Kevin, a former sitcom writer that has been tasked to write speeches for a local politician. Davis plays Julia, a career politician writing speeches for the opposing politician. Kevin is a laid back, fun loving kind of guy while Julia is very straight laced and rigid. The two meet up one night and have a whirlwind romance, but the wheels come off when they actually learn what the other does and who they do it for. This starts a war of words between the candidates and the couple that is neither humorous nor endearing.
The frustrating thing with SPEECHLESS is with the two leads. Michael Keaton is one of the most underrated actors of his time and he has been proving his greatness lately by starring in the last two Best Picture Oscar winners. I wouldn’t go as far as saying Geena Davis is a “good” actress, but in her heyday, she was fun and charming. But these two clash so epically on screen that it’s impossible to care at all about their situations or their romance because neither actor gives any indication that they care themselves. So the audience is left watching two people recite formulaic and mundane dialog that look like they’d rather be anywhere else.
Chemistry aside, neither actor had much to work with. Everything is very cookie-cutter, from the traditional representation of both characters (macho guy, uptight girl) to the lying politicians (shocker!). Since this was a romantic comedy, we all knew where the film was going and given that, I thought their back and forth during their “I-hate-you” phase got really, really mean and vindictive. So much so that it made their eventual reconciliation that much more perplexing. There’s only so much lying, cheating and stealing one can tolerate from someone before they snap.
I think when screenwriter Robert King was sitting at his typewriter working on SPEECHLESS that he envisioned his words being spoken by a Hollywood couple that would add their own chemistry and magic. There were several scenes that I thought would have worked better with different actors in the roles. Unfortunately, Keaton and Davis just weren’t the right fits and we were left with a very forgettable rom-com.
Video: If you’ve read previous reviews of mine for Olive Films, you know I don’t like to bash the video or audio quality, but SPEECHLESS looked terrible. It was inconsistent and there were numerous times the color tone of the film would shift mid-scene. I never saw the DVD, but I can’t imagine it was much worse than this.
Audio: The audio was fine.
There are no special features on this disc