Flannel Pajamas **1/2
I am a sucker for films about relationships. No matter how sappy or corny or unrealistic, for some reason I always am drawn to the prospect of a movie couple being able to live their lives together, forever, blah blah blah. And this is exactly why I should have loved and raved about "Flannel Pajamas," a dreadfully dull and painful to watch film by Jeff Lipsky, whose work I am not familiar with at all, and whose future work I may be a little bit reluctant to see.
"Flannel Pajamas" begins with the meeting of Nicole and Stuart, who are set up on a blind date with their two friends at a diner. The two friends leave, but Nicole and Stuart stay until the wee small hours of the morning, and while fetching a cab, Stuart even puts his jacket onto a puddle. We then go through their entire relationship together-piece by piece. The first time they have sex, the first time they meet each others parents, their first conversation about marriage and children, her getting fired, looking for new job, getting an apartment together, getting a Christmas tree, getting married, fighting about kids. Every single solitary second of their relationship seems to be documented, done in a way that it's like we are actual there. It is not too far into their marriage that Nicole brings up the dreaded word-children. Stuart doesn't want to have any kids yet, and asks Nicole to wait two years before they should start trying. As he puts it, he wants a little bit of time to be married to her, and not burdened with the responsibilities of being a father. But in this two years, they begin to fight, and spiral down to nothingness until finally they both snap.
It's no real surprise to learn that Nicole and Stuart are not meant to be, and I expected to walk out of something like this upset, emotional bonded to the characters, and wishing that everything turned out differently. But about a half hour into this overlong film(which clocks in at a little over two hours!) I realized that I simply did not give a damn about their relationship or these characters. Justin Kirk who played Stuart is lifeless, dull, and a little creepy. Julianne Nicolson as Nicole is very delightful, giving off a vibe of cuteness and vulnerability that her character needs to portray. She pretty much lit up every single scene that she was in. She does well with the thin material that is given to her. After an hour of the film I realized that not much has happened at all. In the first hour we see them go out on a date, her getting fired, and them moving in with each other, and also them having sex over and over again. You would think a movie with the first hour of sex would be enjoyable to watch, but after the second or third scene of five minute "pillow talk" you've had enough to last your entire life of movie watching. For a film this long, and I heard that it was originally cut at almost three hours, there isn't enough character development. I barely knew anything more about these characters at the end of this long journey than I did before it even started. This could have been a much more denser film-a relationship that we feel that we are a part of, where we care about the couple and cheer them on even though we know downfall is around the corner. Ms. Nicolson failed to revive this dead tale of romance, and a rewrite and a recut is the only thing that could have done the trick. There is a good movie hidden in this concept, and with her in it, but Jeff Lipsky seemed to have went over board with the self indulgence, and made a movie for himself and not for his characters. And it's a shame, because we need a more realistic relationship film for a change-one that I won't be embarrassed for enjoying. . .