|Available at Amazon.com|
Ever since Paycheck, Aaron Eckhart’s career has been going the opposite the direction than his co-star Ben Affleck. At the time Affleck was coming off a series of hits that had directly preceded Gigli, his colossal bomb that he starred alongside Jennifer Lopez. Paycheck was his last gasp at being the A-list actor who could still rule the box office. Eckhart was the generic evil corporate head who Affleck had to defeat to win the day, another top actor in a generic bad guy.
Whereas Affleck is known for being Jennifer Garner’s husband after being in a series of flops, Eckhart had terrific turns in Thank You for Smoking and most recently The Dark Knight. Both were critically acclaimed and major hits, the sorts of films that Affleck would’ve been cast in when he was still an actor and not just a celebrity who acts occasionally. Meet Bill is the kind of film he would’ve done back then as well that Eckhart is now doing.
Bill (Eckhart) is in the middle of a mid-life crisis. His wife (Elizabeth Banks) is having an affair with the local newscaster (Timothy Olyphant). His life up to that point has been pretty crappy, though, despite his adulterous wife. He works at a bank his father-in-law owns and is treated subserviently by their family. Desperately wanting to get free of it all, he indulges on sweets and dreams of owning a chain donut franchise. When he catches his wife’s infidelity on tape, and he is unwittingly made into a mentor for a teenager (Logan Lerman), Bill’s life is at a standstill and he must find a way out of it.
It makes for a quirky interesting tale about a man trying to find himself in the midst of an identity crisis. Eckhart is note perfect in the role, playing a man with little self-confidence who needs a boost, amongst other things, and it’s a self-effacing type role he throws himself into. Bill isn’t the sort of charmer that Eckhart is used to playing and he hits just the right note for it. This is his vehicle and he’s effective in the role. It’s interesting to see him as Bill as compared to Nick Naylor or Harvey Dent, two self-confident men in control of it all – or seemingly appearing to be – compared to a character who isn’t. Eckhart has mastered the smarmy, self-confident character that is likeable enough to not be considered a jerk.
It’s an interesting film that’s quirky, of course, and it’s easy to see why it’s been shunted straight to DVD. It’s a film with a lot of depressing characters stuck in their lives, trying to find a way to make a meaning of it, and that usually doesn’t translate into ticket sales. It’s a shame, really, because it’s a good film that’s worth the watch.
Presented in a Dolby Digital format with a widescreen presentation, the film looks and sounds terrific. It doesn’t look direct to DVD, that’s for sure, as the colors are crisp & solid and the audio takes full advantage of the system.
Deleted Scenes for the film are included and don’t add much back into it.
Previews for War, Inc, King of California, The Amateurs and a general one for First Look are included as well as the original trailer for Meet Bill.
With little extras, even for a film released directly to DVD, Meet Bill is a quirky independent film well worth going out to search for.
First Look presents Meet Bill. Directed by Bernie Goldman and Melisa Wallack. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Craig Bierko, Jessica Alba, Elizabeth Banks, Timothy Olyphant. Written by Melisa Wallack. Running time: 97 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: July 15, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.