Some Kind of Beautiful (2014)

Some Kind of Beautiful (2014)
  • Time: 115 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Director: Tom Vaughan
  • Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba


Richard (Pierce Brosnan) is a successful college professor who gives up a steady stream of one-night stands for fatherhood with much younger Kate (Jessica Alba). Three years later when Kate falls in love with someone else and moves out, she sends her sister, Olivia (Salma Hayek), to make sure Richard is properly caring for their son. Assuming Richard is back to his irresponsible playboy lifestyle, Olivia is shocked when she starts to fall in love with him herself.

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  • Originally titled How to Make Love Like an Englishman, Some Kind of Beautiful is character rehabilitation in the guise of a romantic comedy. Upon first glance, it appears a variation of last year’s The Rewrite, in which Hugh Grant’s stunted professor bedded student Bella Thorne before succumbing to the charms of the more age-appropriate Marisa Tomei. Similarly, Some Kind of Beautiful’s Cambridge professor Richard Haig (Pierce Brosnan) liaises with Kate (Jessica Alba), the hottest piece of American totty on his side of the pond.

    Though they date long enough for Kate to schedule an introduction to her family, Richard has not given up his womanising ways. How can he be expected to when another knockout specimen of womanhood sits beside him at the hotel bar where he is scheduled to meet Kate? The knockout is named Olivia and she is embodied by the eternally luscious Salma Hayek, who dominates every frame with her spitfire energy. Hayek and Brosnan last created sparks in 2004’s After the Sunset, and they instantly reignite their chemistry here. It’s all but advertised in blinding neon that they will end up together, but a few obstacles must be strewn to make theirs a bumpy road to love.

    For one thing, Kate and Olivia are actually half-sisters who have vowed to never have any secrets between them. For another, Olivia already has a boyfriend (though he’s so predictably disposable that it’s a wonder they even cast anyone in the role). More obstructingly, Kate is pregnant and moving to Los Angeles for a fancy new job. Will Richard finally toss aside his wayward ways and embrace the responsibility of fatherhood?

    Well, yes. You see, this is only the beginning for Some Kind of Beautiful which then fast-forwards several years later for its true central narrative. Richard is now a husband and father. He and Kate live in an envy-inducing house by the sea, and he’s biding his time at a city college before being surely tapped by a more prestigious university. Richard has it all, but look closer. Kate is cheating on him with Brian (Ben McKenzie), forcing Richard to move into the pool house. Richard botches an important job interview and then winds up in jail for drunk driving and forced to attend AA meetings. Oh, and he may be deported.

    There’s an awful lot going on for so slight a premise. It may be that first-time screenwriter Matthew Newman is overcompensating for his inexperience, but the issues are too numerous to overlook. Unlike the similarly themed Trainwreck, Richard’s Byronic excesses are shown in absolute mildness. The reformation is barely convincing the first time around, even less so when Richard is meant to sort himself out to avoid being kicked out of the country. For all the conflicts Newman keeps generating, he consistently undermines their dramatic potential by sharply turning away as they reach full boil.

    Regardless of its stumbling narrative and nondescript direction, Some Kind of Beautiful does contain moments when the characters are allowed to simply breathe and relax. It helps considerably that the three leads are natural charmers, but they all deserve better than this weak and forgettable film.

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