The Good Night ***
Directed by Jake Paltrow
Written by Jake Paltrow
Penélope Cruz as Anna
Martin Freeman as Gary
Gwyneth Paltrow as Dora
Simon Pegg as Paul
Danny DeVito as Mel
93 Minutes(Rated R for language and some sexual content. )
"The Good Night" is an interesting, entertaining, bleak, and entirely well acted little movie, the writing/directing big screen feature for Jake Paltrow-the brother of the more famous Gwyneth Paltrow. But its a film with an interesting premise, and its well written, and it ends up being a quite intriguing trip to the theatre, even though it's sure to be destroyed by bigger films like "Michael Clayton," "Lust, Caution," and "The Darjeeling Limited." But its often little known films that end up being the most interesting, and that is exactly what 'The Good Night" is.
Paltrow's film is about Gary-played by the usually underused Martin Freeman, a once rising rock star that has now resorted to writing scores for commercials. His friend and business partner Paul, played by the hilarious Simon Pegg, tells him about his work "It's too good. Make it bad for television." He lives with his girlfriend, the snobbish Dora-played by a brunette Gwyneth Paltrow. The two of them have a dismal relationship-when brushing their teeth together you see annoyance in their eyes, and when the lights go out she manages a brief "Love you," and he delivers a dull 'Love You too." The only time Gary seems to be happy is when he is asleep, and he has constant dreams about a beautiful woman named Anna-played by Penelope Cruz. He wants to continue sleeping-and goes to measures to soundproof his room, take sleeping pills, and find ways to control his dreams with the help of a dream expert named Mel-played by the always interesting Danny DeVito.
I thought all five central performances-Cruz, Freeman, DeVito, Paltrow, and Pegg-are all perfect in their roles, and they mix a very good balance of comedy and drama-especially the Pegg character who is always known for his laugh out loud comedy. Freeman works well in a rare lead role, and DeVito should actually be in every movie, if not for a minute. He always manages to find a rather interesting perspective to play in his characters, and this is no exception. And Jake Paltrow's directing is very good at capturing the mood of what is going on on the screen-the beginning is slow paced, even a little dull, perfect for capturing the dull and uneventful life of Gary and Dora. And the mixture of reality and dreams, and the importance of actually living compared to the importance to dreams, works well with the overall message of the movie-one shown in an ironic and bleak way in the films final shot. "The Good Night" is an enjoyable, well made and acted, and interesting little movie-not one that will be remembered in the years to come, but one that's certainly worth checking out at some point.