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Case Number 11533

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Gray Matters

Fox // 2006 // 96 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Katie Herrell (Retired) // June 12th, 2007

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All Rise...

Judge Katie Herrell thinks Gray Matters isn't even qualified to carry Grey's Anatomy's stethoscope.

The Charge

…Closed for repairs…

Opening Statement

There's a line in Gray Matters where one of the two leading ladies, Gray (Heather Graham), refers to herself as a nice little hotel closed for repairs, speaking metaphorically about her love life. It is a nice bit of imagery. Too bad it's also the most memorable piece of dialogue in the entire movie. And I have a sneaking feeling that only I, and other English majors, would even enjoy that much of this film.

Facts of the Case

A brother and sister, Gray and Sam (Thomas Cavanagh), do everything together—except work. They live together, work out together, socialize together…so much so that they are mistaken for a romantic couple. Obviously, this is a horrendous thought for any pair of siblings, and the comment ignites a concerted effort to find a non-blood related mate. In no time, Sam meets the woman he's going to marry. The only problem is Gray decides she also really likes the woman, Charlie (Bridget Moynahan), as well. A twisted love triangle ensues.

The Evidence

Really, the premise has promise, doesn't it? I mean, two lovely ladies and a dorky, yet endearing fellow all canoodling together in trendy NYC; the storyline has the makings of a nice fluffy bit of film.

But alas, my "special screening copy" of Gray Matters was far from special. The opening sequence of New York City shots are supposed to set the stage of this urban comedy/drama, yet I couldn't determine what part of the country they were showing—and I love NYC.

I noticed the colors were instantly washed out, and they stayed that way through the entire film. Normally I'm not a fan of widescreen movies, what with that annoying black bar I just can't seem to block out, but this supposedly widescreen DVD had no black bar and no depth or color or range to any of its shots.

The acting relied on exaggerated facial expressions and an overuse of hand gestures. I expect this of Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live), who plays Carrie, a co-worker of Gray's, and a woman whose life revolves around Weight Watchers and celebrity gossip. But all four leads flapping their limbs and lips, that's too much.

I was particularly disappointed by Ed's, I mean Tom's, portrayal of Sam. Whether playing Angry, Sad, Happy, or Mean, it was like he was checking a how-to textbook and imitating the pictures. Plus, the man was supposed to be a doctor-in-training. That means years of medical school, careful use of time and energy, and a respect for reason and book learning. Then he just up and marries someone he met at the dog park (using an alias dog, I might add). It was too impulsive and too unbelievable for his character.

The same unbelievability is evident in Heather Graham's character. I have less qualms about Graham's actual acting—it was neither good nor bad, although she is a bit too reliant on her big blue eyes in her pale, pale face. Mainly the character arc just didn't ring true. Here's a woman who hasn't been on a date in awhile, has a therapist whom she meets for rock climbing and bowling sessions (oddly played by the esteemed Sissy Spacek), and suddenly decides she's gay after one evening with her brother's bride-to-be. There just wasn't enough built-up angst or questioning about her sexuality. She exuded straightness…whatever that means…until she proclaimed she was gay.

And Bridget Moynahan is the epitome of the model-turned-actress actress. I don't know what it is about this subset of actors…oh wait, they pause just a bit too long after each line as if someone is taking their picture. Apparently, Moynahan got her acting start in Sex and the City as the hated Natasha who married the loved and reviled Big. This role isn't that different, arm candy really.

I am just not a fan of this movie. I recently watched Catch and Release, a film that was roundly panned. Even here in Boulder, where I live and where some of the scenes were shot, the local paper couldn't muster a thumbs up. But I enjoyed Catch and Release sooooo much more than Gray Matters. Plus, I think somewhere some marketing guru encouraged the title based on the success of Grey's Anatomy, and that's just wrong.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The only nice thing I can say about this movie is that the stylist for Sam and Gray's NYC loft is impeccable. Oh, and two out of the three movie trailers in the "Special Features" looked promising, and in a completely different vein from Gray Matters.

Closing Statement

I think it's quite clear that I think this movie is a flop.

The Verdict

Guilty. This movie needs the wrecking ball.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 70
Extras: 85
Acting: 70
Story: 70
Judgment: 73

Perp Profile

Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
Genres:
• Comedy
• Drama

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• The Making of Gray Matters

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site








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