The narrator in this film is a screenwriter who is contracted to write a romantic comedy for two well-known actors. There is only one problem. The narrator doesn’t believe in love and cannot bring himself to write the typical romance you find in modern films today. That is, of course, until he meets the woman of his dreams who forces him to reconsider everything he believes. Playing It Cool is an unconventional rom com that will please even the biggest cynic.
In a world full of romantic comedies, it is hard to find one that stands out among the rest. Playing It Cool achieves this though by adding unique twists to the script in order to give audiences a break from the traditional scene structure of this genre of picture. For example, the narrator of the story (Chris Evans) has a habit of imaging himself in stories people tell them so that he can understand what they are going through. Every time someone in the film tells a love story, Evans’ character lets his imagination bring the scene to life by replacing one of the people in the tale with himself. He is in their clothes, though. This is even true for when the character is female. It is weird, but fun. It happens often, but you are excited each time you realize a new story is about to be told just to see what he will be wearing. This quirk also plays a large part of why he thinks he is truly falling for someone, but you will have to watch the film to see why.
Some other clever ideas really help the film to be memorable. These nuances do not play as heavily into the scenes, but are still awesome little additions. The best is probably that The Narrator’s character’s “heart” follows him around, in the form of a chain-smoking, suit-wearing Chris Evans. It is odd when it is first introduced, but grows on you. They also create a montage by having one long shot of The Narrator opening and entering doors into different parties and charity events. Ideas such as these are thrown into the film and make you realize that this film set out to be different than romantic comedies you already know and love.
That being said, the usual events in cheesy romantic movies happen in this one as well. They are just handled differently. Boy meets girl and they fall for each other, but something is keeping them apart and one of them has to try to do something about it. The problem with this movie is not its predictability, but the fact that the two leads do not fit quite right. Evans and Monaghan have chemistry, but it is not strong enough to make you root for them to end up together. You want more. This could also be a personal thing against decisions Monaghan’s character makes, pushing you to not root as hard for her happiness. The thing that makes you root for them is charisma that drips off of Evans, which makes him so likable in all of his various roles. In fact, the relationship you become most invested in is not The Narrator’s relationship with his dream girl, but with his best friend Scott (Topher Grace). You reach the climax of the film thinking to yourself that it will be okay if he doesn’t get the girl, but very concerned about his dwindling friendship with Scott. After all, that is what the movie is setting out to do, give you a romantic comedy that stands against everything a romantic comedy is supposed to be.
Playing It Cool is not a romantic comedy that will soar to the top of your favorites list, but it is one that is worth at least one watch for all of the brilliant things that are added into the film. The chemistry is there between the friendships and the romantic interest, although you become deeply invested in the friendships instead of the romance. There are beautiful moments but not nearly enough passion or true love to make you ache for the leads to be together in the end. The writing is smart though, and will definitely keep you interested to see if the narrator can finish his own story.