I was told I would love this movie for one reason: John Cusack. If you’re female, you should understand by now that the Cus (pronounced KYOOZ) has this all-or-nothing effect on women. And by “all-or-nothing,” I just mean “all,” because I haven’t yet met a woman who’s expressed outward dislike for a movie he’s starred in. So he’s got a pretty ridiculous track record, somehow by starring in a bunch of movies but never stretching his character too far from how we ladies all perceive him in our minds. It must be good to be the Cus.
I liked this movie. It was cute and indie and all of that. But I actually didn’t like it because of Cusack at all; in fact, I found his character, Rob, kind of annoying and empty. I didn’t understand how he managed to bed so many women, yet I understood perfectly well why he had been through so many breakups. Laura (Iben Hjejle; what is up with Cusack co-starring with women who never do anything big afterwards?), his main lady love, put it into pretty succinct terms when she said that she wanted to get her shit together and didn’t see it happening with him. Harsh but wise. I’m still confused as to how they ended up together at the end.
I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb in saying that this movie is about incredibly selfish people. Rob indulges himself in a really plateaued life, working in the record store and seducing women and occasionally DJ’ing. The women he dates aren’t particularly thrilling, either, though it was fun to see Catherine Zeta-Jones vamp it up a bit and Lili Taylor reunite with Cus on screen. I get that the “fidelity” in the title has a few layers to it, since Rob and Laura can’t shake their feelings for each other even after they explore relationships with other people, but I wasn’t ever rooting for them to get back together because they didn’t seem particularly thrilled to be together or apart.
The best parts of this movie, by far, are the scenes containing Jack Black. I had always found him kind of obnoxious, though I know that’s his forte, but he is perfect in this movie. Observe.
No one else can do physical comedy like this guy. I just wish there was slightly more of him, and less of the Cus breaking the fourth wall. Black’s character, Barry, is so funny that he could build a fifth wall made entirely of mixtapes.
High Fidelity is cute, but I prefer my Cusack without the bitterness and with a duster and a boombox. I am a lady, after all.