Robert Lewis (Ewan McGregor) is a cleaner with extreme dreams, the trouble with dreamers however is their realities are a far different place from their dream life. In Robert’s dream life most things are perfect, in his reality he has just lost his job, he is evicted from his home and his girlfriend leaves him for a gymnast. Taking everything far too badly he storms into the office of his recent ex-boss and unwittingly ends up kidnapping his daughter Celine (Cameron Diaz). The paid hit the road, and it seems that his hostage is more than willing to stay with him. Pursued by her father Mr Naville (Ian Holm), and butler come assassin Mayhew (Ian McNeice), and two angels (Holly Hunter, Delroy Lindo) sent from heaven to turn the kidnapping into something more… Romantic.
Danny Boyle’s 1997 movie A Life Less Ordinary is one of the directors most understated works. Largely disapproved of at the time, the movie developed somewhat of a cult following when it was released on VHS (and subsequently DVD). While Boyle has often handed offbeat topics, A Life Less Ordinary may well seem like a trip into insanity.
While the movies leads are obviously the focus of attention in the movie, it’s the characters of O’Reilly (Hunter) and Jackson (Lindo) that really are the ones you want to be following. These two angels thrown down to earth in an attempt to unite Robert and Celine in love, use everything at their disposal to pull them together, including the final resort of killing them. Just after the halfway midsection of the movie, Hunters’ character ends up attached to the bonnet of the car, and you can clearly see Hunter was having a whale of a time. Not understanding that the couple are angels, Robert and Celine just assume they are killers, hired by Naville, and as a result get more and more perplexed to see the couple, after leaving them previously in scenes where they clearly should be dead.
Penned by John Hodge, who has worked with Boyle on The Beach, Trainspotting, and Shallow Grave, as well as more recently devising the script for The Sweeney; this journey while uncharacteristic of many screenwriters, is a typical trip for Hodge, who seemed to be testing his limits. This is a movie that has violence, titillation, Claymation, and some very bizarre song and dance routines. You kind of feel lie you have opened up the top of Hodge’s head and had a good look at what is going on inside.
If you have never had the opportunity to experience A Life Less Ordinary, a trip down this modern fairytale will undoubtedly be one that you want to take again, expect much of this movie, but above all things expect the unexpected.