LAKE OCONEE — “Side Effects”
Rated R (for sexuality, nudity, violence and language).
“Side Effects” or “Identity Thief”? Which movie, opening this last weekend, should I, the Film Critic, and She, the Critical, see? Well, she told me that I much preferred to see Jude Law, of course, and that the early critics (the real ones, not the un-credited charlatans such as I) eviscerated “Identity Thief” and praised “Side Effects”. So, She said we needed to see “Side Effects”.
Well, the critic in me made me curious about “Side Effects”. The He did what a He does—what She says. I don’t get Variety and I did not go to film critic school, so I don’t know if there is a term for it, so I will make it up. The Critic Audience Movie Spread (or the CAM Spread). This is when the critics rate a movie much higher than the audience or the audience rates the movie higher than the critics. For example: “Side Effects”, according to www.rottentomatoes.com on Feb. 10 at 8 a.m., has a Critics Rating for “Side Effects” of 85 while the Audience gave it a rating of 70. And according to the same site, the CAM Spread is the reverse with “Identity Thief”: Critics rate it a 24 while the Audience gave it a 74. So, “Side Effects” has a CAM Spread score of +15 while “Identity Thief” has a CAM Spread score of -50. Very curious to me, perhaps not to you, but interesting to ponder, I submit. Let it simmer in the back of your mind and I will check back with you later.
At the beginning of “Side Effects”, it appears to be a story of a young woman named Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara). She lived the high life; but her husband was a Wall Streeter, a young buck who got caught up in insider trading, was arrested and sent to spend four years in prison. She waited for him, but as soon as he returned, she becomes deeply depressed and tries to kill herself. She goes to psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who is just trying to build a practice and a personal relationship with his wife and a stepson. The first half of the movie seems about to be Emily’s sad descent into madness—then she commits murder.