The narrative of the film is told with Cusack’s Rob breaking the forth wall and talking directly to the audience. I think this works well and allows the audience to feel a part of Rob’s life and the world which the film creates. The story is fairly interesting and the film mostly entertaining but I didn’t find it very funny. There were a couple of laughs but this is much more of a drama-comedy than comedy-drama. At times I felt incredibly uncomfortable in the record store setting. Jack Black’s attempt to ridicule people for their musical taste reminded me of every time I went into a record shop or video game shop as a child and was confronted by the same sort of vehement when I asked about something which wasn’t to the shop staff’s liking. It at least recreates a realistic record store feel.
The acting was fairy good. Cusack comes off as the kind of easy going guy you’d want to go for a drink with but I didn’t think that his redemption was complete. He is well cast in the role and is convincing. Jack Black, someone who I’m not usually keen on, was very well cast as the snotty music shop assistant and stole the scenes he was in. Todd Louiso pulls off the geeky but shy character well and Iben Hjejle is excellent as Cusack’s ex. She is the only main character living in the real world and brings a sense of adulthood to the film.
I’m not as keen on this film as many of the reviews I’ve read. It’s not bad but I was a bit put off by the setting and felt alienated from it. My musical knowledge is not great so much of it went over my head. There wasn’t very much comedy but I did like the way it was filmed and enjoyed watching John Cusack’s character battle himself to the realisation that his future mattered and it was he who could do something about it.