Manhattan playboy Conrad (Jason Bateman) has never had a job and spends his life living it up in his parents' mansion on a diet of Tom Collins cocktails. Then one day, out of the blue, his parents cut him off. Suddenly homeless, Conrad resorts to sleeping on his best friend Dylan's couch. Enter the beautiful Beatrice Fairbanks (Olivia Wilde). A model with a penchant for highbrow literature, she captures Conrad's heart one day on the subway. Could she be the girl to finally change his ways? It's like fate landed her right in his lap. There's just one teeny snag. She's already going out with Dylan. A hilarious love triangle ensues as Conrad attempts to woo Beatrice all over the city in secret. All's fair in love and war, right? That is, until she finds out he's completely broke...and Dylan finds out his best friend has stolen his girl.
What is it about attractive, rich, men who refuse to grow up that entertain us so much? These characters have run wild on Film (from Arthur Bach in Arthur to Tony Stark in Iron Man) and Television (Joey Tribbiani in Friends and Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother), increasing in popularity especially in the recent years. The Longest Week attempts to make us root for characters we would hate in real life, but while the comedy aspects hits their mark, the film unfortunately lacks in the more dramatic moments.
Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman) lives the ultimate life of luxury. He wakes up in his lavish Manhattan Hotel, dresses in only the best clothes, and spends his days doing absolutely anything he wants. The only problem is that his parents will no longer fund his aimless existence. Within a single week, Conrad no longer has a home, no longer has money, and no longer has his wonderful life. His writing career barely lifts off the ground, and he resorts to ‘bunking’ with his best friend Dylan Tate. And, just when he thinks it cannot get any worse, he finds himself in love with Dylan’s girlfriend.
The Longest Week’s cast-list boasts quite a few talented names. Jason Bateman has really surged in popularity since his role as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development (2003-2006, then 2013). He has gone from film to film, even taking jobs behind the camera, but has not been able to find the same success. I have only recently heard the name ‘Billy Crudup’ – who plays Conrad’s friend in the film – yet now it seems his name is everywhere. He has already been in three films this year, where he never played the same type of character twice. Unfortunately, though the cast are known for their ability to deliver great performances, they struggled with the script to make the characters work.
The cinematic style Peter Glanz offered for this film appears to borrow greatly from other filmmakers. While he is skilled enough to make them work, once again, it is the heart underneath that lacks, and his filmic attempts ring fake. The dialogue is shockingly cliché at times, and the characters don’t manage to progress, just exist.
As many others have pointed out, The Longest Week is essentially a film about rich people with petty problems. For some projects, this works, but it needs to have heart. This film never established that vital element, and instead it works more to alienate the audience.
The film has been waiting to be released since its completion back in 2012, and the fact it was finally dumped into cinemas clearly is not a sign of confidence.
As with all movies, opinions are subjective, and what reviewers denounce, will always find some enjoyment from some cinemagoers.