Richard (Pierce Brosnan) is a successful college professor who gives up a steady stream of one-night-stands and beautiful undergrads for fatherhood with much younger Kate (Jessica Alba). Three years later when Kate falls in love with someone else and moves out, she sends her sister, Olivia (Salma Hayek), to make sure Richard is properly caring for their son. Assuming Richard is back to his irresponsible playboy lifestyle, Olivia is shocked when she starts to fall in love with him, herself.
Sometimes I wonder how a really good cast of actors find themselves in a really bad movie. What drew them to it? Are they friends with the director? Do they owe the studio a favor? Are they just looking for a quick paycheck before their next 'serious' film? Or, as the case may be with 'Some Kind of Beautiful', did they see who else had signed on to the movie and figure they could make something out of a rather mediocre script?
Star Pierce Brosnan is listed as an Executive Producer here, so one can only assume his name was attached to the movie first. No doubt it was Brosnan, rather than relatively unknown director Tom Vaughn, who helped lure the likes of Salma Hayek and Malcolm McDowell to this production, and one has to assume Jessica Alba and up and coming star Ben McKenzie jumped at the chance to work with the others. While this group of actors certainly does nothing to embarrass themselves in this title (if anything, they at least make a bad film a little more tolerable to sit through), it's still hard to believe many of them would sign on to such a lifeless, humorless romantic comedy.
Brosnan stars here as a poetry professor Richard Haig, who works at Cambridge and has a weakness for his young female students. We learn early in the movie that much of Richard's personality is taken from his own father, Gordon (Malcolm McDowell), who also taught poetry and also was a serial womanizer in his day. Richard's latest fling is with young student Kate (Jessica Alba), who has invited her sister, Olivia (Salma Hayek) to dinner in the opening sequences of the movie. During the meal, Olivia goes on a rant about how sexist Richard appears to be, only to learn moments later that Kate is pregnant with Richard's child. The revelation is news to Richard as well, who needs to leave and consider his future.
Richard makes the right choice and decides to join Kate in California to raise their child. But after only a few years of domestic tranquility, Kate confesses to Richard that's she's met someone else (Kate's new beau is played by Ben McKenzie). Richard is allowed to stick around to help raise his son (which includes a dull subplot involving Richard's attempts to avoid deportation back to England), and not long afterwards, Olivia finds herself back in the picture as well – and learning that Richard may not be the horrible man that she originally thought.
The movie goes for broad comedy in much of its first hour, only to try to turn sappily sentimental during the final act. Actually, the drama here works much better than the comedy, which makes one wonder if the story might have been better if it had avoided any attempts at humor. Brosnan's character is all over the map for this 100-minute movie, playing ladies' man, louse, drunk, and loving father – all less to do with any natural character arc, but rather what the screenplay requires him to portray from one scene to the next.
I'm a fan of Brosnan, as well as most of the other actors in this movie, but there's really nothing to recommend about 'Some Kind of Beautiful'. It's one of those movies where you find yourself looking at the clock, looking at it a second time, and then getting up and checking it to make sure the damn thing isn't broken. This cast deserved to find themselves in a much more interesting and entertaining film.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Some Kind of Beautiful' arrives on Blu-ray with an eco-friendly Elite keepcase, which houses the 50GB dual-layer disc along with an insert containing a code for an UltraViolet digital copy of the movie. A slipcover matching the artwork of the keepcase's slick slides overtop. The Blu-ray is front-loaded with trailers for The Forger, American Heist, Love & Mercy, She's Funny That Way, and 'What We Did on Our Holiday', plus a promo ad for the Epix channel. The main menu design has a still image of Pierce Brosnan on the left of the screen, with a video montage of scenes from the movie on the right. Menu selections run horizontally across the bottom of the screen.
The Blu-ray in this release is Region A locked.
'Some Kind of Beautiful' was shot digitally using Arri Alexa XT cameras and is presented on Blu-ray in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The transfer here is about what one would expect for a digitally shot movie – with a relatively nice amount of detail and sharpness, yet nothing that really 'wows' the viewer or sets this release apart from most Blu-rays.
The bulk of the movie was shot in the Malibu, California area, and those scenes that take place outdoors look particularly colorful and stunning. The indoor shots are a little less so, as is probably to be expected. There are also a few establishing shots in the film set in England (although I believe the indoor England scenes were still shot in the United States) where the film takes on a more brownish/grayish look to it, to contrast those moments with sunny California. There's also a short flashback to the youth of the main character in the opening moments of the movie, where the picture is drained of color to indicate it's a scene that takes place in the past.
Because so many of the movie's scenes take place in the sunny daylight or in brightly lit rooms, black levels aren't really a big issue here, but when applicable (like in the England scenes), they're fairly decent. I didn't see and noticeable issues with banding or aliasing during my viewing.
The only audio option here is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, whose lossless output is more than enough for a movie like this, which is a pretty dialogue-heavy affair. The surround speakers are primarily used to provide ambient noises in certain scenes and to amp up the movie's rather forgettable soundtrack (which includes a couple of songs in addition to composer Stephen Endelman's score).
The mix here is pretty well done, so the music never drowns out the spoken word or vice versa, and there were no apparent glitches that I noticed in the audio. This may be far from an outstanding or particularly active lossless track, but there's really nothing to complain about, either.
Subtitles are available in English SDH, English and Spanish.
Despite a cast filled with some decent actors, 'Some Kind of Beautiful' is the worst kind of romantic comedy – one that is neither funny nor romantic. It isn't so much that the acting here is bad, but that the talent in the movie has been given a pretty subpar script to work with. Sadly, despite the names attached to the film, this one's not worth your time. Skip it.