Management (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/09/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Enjoyably offbeat indie romcom that's never particularly funny but gradually wins you over, thanks to a quirky, unpredictable script and great performances from Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Stephen Belber, Management stars Steve Zahn as 38-year-old Mike Cranshaw, who works as a night manager and odd-job-man at an Arizona hotel owned by his parents (Margo Martindale and Fred Ward). When he meets attractive guest Sue Claussen (Jennifer Aniston), Mike is instantly smitten and makes a clumsy attempt to woo her with a bottle of wine he tells her is compliments of management.

After an unusual first encounter in which Sue ends the evening by allowing him to touch her bottom for five seconds, Mike is surprised and delighted when she seduces him in the laundry room the next day, right before she leaves town. With stalkerish persistence, Mike pursues Sue to Baltimore, where he's horrified to learn that she's gone back to her punk-rocker-turned-yoghurt-magnate ex-boyfriend Jango (a perfectly cast Woody Harrelson).

The Good
Zahn is superb, delivering an unusual, off-kilter performance (even for him) that makes you occasionally wonder if Mike's maybe not all there. He's equally matched by Aniston, who gives her best performance since 2002's The Good Girl and proves, once again, that she's capable of much more than the terrible, cliche-ridden studio romcoms she usually gets lumbered with.

There's an easy chemistry between Zahn and Aniston that works remarkably well; it's not just a sexual chemistry (though the bottom touching and laundry room scenes are perhaps Aniston's sexiest scenes to date), but rather a sense that the characters understand each other and enjoy each other's company. This is just as well, because on the surface, Mike's stalkerish pursuit of Sue looks more than a little creepy and it's a testament to Zahn's inherent likeability that he pulls this off.

The Great
There's also strong comic support from Harrelson and from James Liao as Mike's new best friend, who agrees to help him woo her away from Jango. On top of that, the unpredictable script delivers several amusingly off-the-wall moments and while it's never actually laugh-out-loud funny, it still wins you over in the end, just like its lead character.

Worth seeing?
Management is a refreshingly offbeat romcom that's well worth seeking out.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 19:36

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