DVD: Saoirse Ronan's Charming Debut Film, Which You Probably Never Saw
This weekend's teen-assassin thriller Hanna will no doubt do for talented young Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan what the overhyped The Lovely Bones was supposed to do -- firmly establish her as one of the most intense and fascinating actresses under 20 on the scene today. But she's shown promise ever since her little-seen (in the US, anyway) 2007 feature debut, the comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman (available on DVD from Weinstein Company) written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless).
The film centers mostly around the romance between divorced TV sitcom creator Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and young actor Adam (Paul Rudd) -- who, between them, have charm in spades -- but Ronan stands out as Pfeiffer's daughter, and not just for her dead-on SoCal accent.
Ronan's Izzie is, thanks both to the actress and the screenwriter, a fully-formed tween girl: She's not just a wise-cracking sass-mouth or a bundle of angst or a dithering flibbertigibbet. Or rather, she's all of those things, but in a combo that comes off seeming like a real person. On the one hand, Izzie is resigned to being Rosie's sounding-board on current teen patois, but she also harbors hopes that her mom and dad (Jon Lovitz!) might get back together one day.
There's also a priceless moment when Izzie and a pal start prank-calling all the celebrities in Rosie's cell phone, leading to an exchange with Henry Winkler, who corrects the girls on the proper pronunciation of "Ayyyy!"
Through no fault of its own, I Could Never Be Your Woman bypassed US theaters and went straight to DVD -- it had to do with a clueless (sorry) distributor and is by no means a reflection on the film's quality -- but it's a lovely and exceedingly funny movie about show biz, aging, romance, and the steady decline of television. After you see Ronan karate-kick CIA agents and field-dress a recently-slaughtered reindeer in Hanna, consider giving this early film of hers a shot.