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  • Paul Davidson

Sunday’s Movie Review from the Future

Today I would like to start a tradition. A tradition that, not unlike the final sequence in The Color Purple, in which Whoopi Goldberg finally meets her two children (that she bore, and who were taken from her at birth) for the first time, should cause everyone to have a breakdown caused by extreme emotional distress. I call this tradition…

Sunday’s Movie Review from the Future

Today, I’ll be doing a review of the film Here’s Your Electronic Dictionary & Thesaurus, As Promised. For anyone living under a rock here in 2009, it’s the long-awaited sequel to the 2003 film Lost In Translation, which walked away with the Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and Best Actor (Bill Murray).

The film picks up about six months after the first movie left off, with Bob (Bill Murray in the first movie, Ashton Kutcher in the new film) finding himself back in the States, helping his wife (played by Hilary Duff) finally finish the redecorating job for their home. But their relationship begins to falter under the pressure of Bob’s lack of work in Los Angeles (no thanks to his smarmy agent Edward, played by a now-greying but still hilarious Andy Dick) and their lack of romantic chemistry. A lot of it has to do with the distance Bob has recently put between himself and his wife on his trip to Tokyo, and it quickly drives a wedge between them.

This of course drives Bob to spend hours listening to old karaoke songs and thinking about Charlotte. Since being back in the States, he has never tried to contact her. But now, with things all around him falling apart, Bob decides he feels different about how he left things with Charlotte. This is the major theme of the movie as Bob leaves his wife as she’s trying to determine whether or not she wants the blue KitchenAid mixer or the white KitchenAid mixer — he abandons her at a Williams Sonoma store, without transportation, as he speeds off to the airport and boards a plane to New York City where Charlotte (Scarlett Johannsen in the first movie, played this time around by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson) is still living with her photographer boyfriend.

After a bit of a slow start, Here’s Your Electronic Dictionary & Thesaurus, As Promised picks up steam as Bob shows up at Charlotte’s NYC loft and finally lets the viewers in on the secret from the first movie. Most viewers were thrown off by the fact that the Bill Murray in Lost in Translation whispered something to Scarlett Johannsen that the audience was never privy to. Well, thanks to Hollywood – who must finally be listening to the desires of its public, we’re priviledged enough to know the answer.

In a hilarious sequence where Bob trails Charlotte to a T.G.I.Friday’s, he presents her with an electronic dictionary & thesaurus, telling her, “Like I whispered to you in Tokyo that one day, someday I would show up with an electronic dictionary and thesaurus for you, and that you should take that to symbolically mean that I love you and that we can now go to any country and have no issues asking for towels and pizza in their own language…thanks to this electronic dictionary and theasurus…”

What follows can only be left up to the imagination as Bob & Charlotte party through New York, Bangkok, Paris, London and in an homage to The Butterfly Effect, a prison. But all along the way, the relationship so many people thought was ambiguous in the first movie, finally blossoms through typical but very clear and fully spelled-out sequences like (1) a wet t-shirt contest, (2) a panty-raid, (3) a wedding ceremony about to start that really should never be happening, and (4) a sequence where Bob must chase down Charlotte through traffic as she gets away in a taxi after they have an argument about their future. When all is said and done, you know where they’re going and you know where they’ve been. And we can all sleep at night because there are none of those nagging, creatively-ambiguous, artistic questions that give most Americans migraine headaches.

Although a huge fan of Lost in Translation, Here’s Your Electronic Dictionary & Thesaurus, As Promised takes the world originally created by Sofia Coppola one step further and gives us a typical but happily-formulaic romantic-romp that is both endearing, care-free and (thank god) under 90 minutes.

Reviewed at Twentieth Century Fox Studios screening room, L.A., Dec. 31, 2009. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 74 MIN.

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