Alex and Emma

Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson. Directed by Rob Reiner
Running Time: 96 mins
Rated: PG

Alex Sheldon (Wilson) is a writer with a deadline - literarily. He has a gambling debt to pay and no resources to pay it. If he doesn't cough up the money, the loan sharks will kill him. His publishers have been waiting on the manuscript of his new novel for ages. His has thirty days to write the novel, collect his completion cheque, pay the mob and live. To speed up the process he hires Emma Dinsmore (Hudson), a legal secretary, who types up
his literary dictation. As the month progresses Emma becomes more than a typist. She goes from being Alex's stenographer, to being his muse, his co-creator to being his girlfriend.

There's not much to Alex and Emma. It's an inoffensive, simple romantic comedy which might fill in an hour and a half on a wet day.

The only slightly interesting, but hardly original, thing in the screenplay and the film is the movement between the contemporary story and the tale of the novel, set in the 1920s. As we would expect, the drama of Alex's life
becomes the material for his novel in which Adam Shipley (Wilson) is in a love triangle with Anna (Hudson) and Polina (Sophie Marceau). As Alex and Emma fight over how to resolve Adam and Anna's dilemma, they provide
the commentary on their own growing romance.

With such a talented cast, Rob Reiner directing and Jerry Leven writing, we should have received better material and a better result than this obvious and quaint souffle. The costumes, art direction and set dressing of the 1920s scenes are best thing in the film.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the Director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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