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Cliche-spotting

Boyle also uses the lush fall landscapes of Utah, where most of the movie was shot, as decoration. He originally wanted to film in France and Scotland, and because a fair amount of the humor has a British flavoring, the relocation to America dislocates the drama. The effect is a bit like watching It Happened One Night transposed to Sussex.

It helps, in trying to undermine the preconceptions of romantic comedy, if you understand those conceptions. Boyle and Hodge may be trying to riff on romantic cliches, but they don't really care enough about them. What they care about is shooting the works. Did they worry their fans would disown them if they didn't go blooey? If so, the joke's on them -- the best scene in the movie by far is a no-frills monologue about romantic compatibility delivered by Tony Shalhoub as a barman friend of Robert's. In the movies, as in life, sometimes simple is best.

A Life Less Ordinary.
Directed by Danny Boyle. With Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo.

Rated R.
103 minutes.

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