Friday, January 24, 2014

The Neighbor (2008) [PG-13] ***

Based on the French TV movie Mon voisin du dessusThe Neighbor is a romantic comedy about Christine (Michele Laroque), a high-powered real estate developer who buys a condo building that she plans to renovate, and Jeff (Matthew Modine), an architect and artist who's a tenant in the top-floor condo just above Christine's condo. The seller of the building assured Christine that Jeff would move out, allowing her to turn the two condos into one two-floor townhouse where she and her cold-hearted businessman fiance Jonathan (Ed Quinn) would live and raise a family.

But Jeff has no intention of moving. His business is failing and his daughter Ally (Gina Mantegna) has just told him that his ex-wife Mindy (Meredith Scott Lynn) is marrying his ex-friend Larry (David Youse). Jeff's condo is his home and art studio; it's all he has left. So he digs in, determined to resist Christine, and a battle of wills ensues. After Jeff tricks Larry into giving him an invitation to the wedding and reception, and Jeff is unable to come up with a date, in desperation he offers Christine a deal - if she will pretend to be his fiancee at the reception, to show his ex-wife he's not a loser, he'll vacate the condo. The pretense goes well until Christine suggests they could really make Mindy jealous by sharing a kiss. The passion in their kiss is undeniable, and Jeff and Christine find themselves falling for one another, although Christine denies her feelings until Jonathan, tired of Jeff's stalling, makes a rash, thoughtless decision.

With an inventive, well-polished screenplay, a nearly ideal balance of comedy and romance, a superb comedic performance by Modine, believable romantic chemistry between Modine and Laroque, and great supporting performances by Mantegna and Quinn, this is an entertaining movie. If you enjoy films like CousinsMy Best Friend's Wedding and The Wedding Date, you might enjoy The Neighbor. 

Labels: comedy, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Tomatometer (critics=NA, viewers=31)

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