Sweet November review

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A remake of a little-seen 1968 movie set in Greenwich Village, director Pat O'Connor's sometimes mawkish, frequently clichéd but always likeable romantic drama transports the action to San Francisco, but otherwise sticks pretty close to the blueprint.

However, the basic premise of a woman taking a different stranger into her home (and bed) every month has lost much of its shock value during the intervening decades. Perhaps realising this, O'Connor wisely doesn't concern himself with slaving over a social or sexual agenda, but simply gets on with conjuring up a good old-fashioned romance designed to work those tear ducts.

Having Reeves and Theron on board is a major help. They looked good together in Devil's Advocate, and they look great together here, especially when shot in autumnal sunshine against a succession of photogenic San Fran backdrops. And, as an added bonus, they even seem to have developed an easy chemistry this time round.

In fact, it doesn't even matter that Keanu's portrayal of a suited-and-booted, go-get-'em advertising hotshot is about as convincing as his Jonathan Harker in Dracula: once he's chillin' with Charlize you'll find yourself praying for a happy ending, and be damned if it's Hollywood claptrap. Who knows, you may even sit through the music-heavy `love montages' - slo-mo runs in the lapping surf, a shared bubble bath, giggly games of blind man's bluff - with a goofy grin.

Of course, anyone who's had the misfortune of seeing the plot-spoiling trailer will know that the ending isn't exactly all candy and roses. Obviously it would be unfair to give too much away here, but suffice to say that O'Connor at least handles his closing scenes with finesse and admirable restraint.

Predictable and formulaic right down to the friendly drag queen who lives downstairs, Sweet November is made enjoyable by its stars' relaxed interaction and some sensitive direction. See it on a Friday night, with a date, and you won't be disappointed.

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