out of Five
Running time: 93
The Good Night toys with some interesting ideas but it never quite works, largely because none of the characters are particularly likeable.
What's it all about?
Martin Freeman plays Gary, a British ex-pop star living in New York with his moody girlfriend Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow), while trying to make a living as a composer. His best friend is his ex-bandmate Paul (Simon Pegg), who's made more of a success of his post-band career and who spends most of his time cheating on his oblivious fiancee Terry (Amber Rose Sealey).
However, everything changes when Gary finds himself repeatedly dreaming about a beautiful woman named Anna (Penelope Cruz). After consulting a Dream Guru (Danny DeVito) about controlling his dreams, Gary retreats further and further into his fantasy dream life…until he spots Anna's picture in an advertisement and realises that she actually exists.
Penelope Cruz is well cast as the fantasy woman and her rather more realistic real-life counterpart and the scene where Gary takes the real-life Anna for a drink is the best scene in the film. Simon Pegg is good too - his character's outrageous behaviour provides a welcome streak of dark humour in an otherwise fairly miserable film.
The film's biggest problem is that none of the characters are particularly likeable - consequently there's zero chemistry between Freeman and Cruz so we don't really care whether they get together or not. Also, Gwyneth is clearly only playing her part as a courtesy to her director brother and it just makes you wish she'd go back to playing lead roles again.
In addition, the film is poorly thought out and confusingly structured - it's bookended by documentary-style interviews, but this doesn't add anything to the story, largely because it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to make a film about Freeman's tedious character.
Ultimately, The Good Night is just about watchable but it's neither as engaging nor as profound as it thinks it is.