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Film / A Life Less Ordinary

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A 1997 rom-com by Danny Boyle that takes place in a world with very strange rules of morality: True Love reigns supreme and divine Fate is in danger of succumbing to human chaos, and very little else matters, morally speaking.

Ewan McGregor plays the down-on-his luck Robert, who impulsively decides to give a piece of his mind to his former boss after he loses his job, his girlfriend, and even his house, the last due to meddling angels Jackson (Delroy Lindo) and O'Reilly (Holly Hunter). When Robert storms into Mr Naville's office, however, things take an rather unexpected turn, and he ends up taking Naville's daughter Celine (Cameron Diaz) along with him at gunpoint.

Full of dark humor and Postmodernism, it's a fun ride, and an interesting take on the romantic comedy.


  • Abduction Is Love: The main premise of the story.
  • Actor Allusion: Ewan McGregor looking under the floorboards for the money is a nod to Shallow Grave, which was also about stolen money.
  • Bound and Gagged: Celine, after being kidnapped for the second time.
    O'Reilly: (a knock at the door) Answer it, Jackson.
    Jackson: I can't do that. We're playing blackjack, she might cheat while I'm out of the room.
    (Celine rolls her eyes - the only part of her that can move.)
  • Break the Cutie: What happens to Robert at the beginning of the movie.
  • Butt-Monkey: Robert. Bad luck seems to just follow him wherever he goes.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: And how.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Holly Hunter as O'Reilly. The entire cast takes their turn at it, really, but... O'Reilly is the character that devours the most scenery.
  • Da Chief: Gabriel. The angel Gabriel, that is.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Celine.
  • Face–Heel Turn: "Maybe we failed, Jackson, but we don't have to live like this."
  • Faked Kidnapping: Turns into this.
  • Justified Criminal: Robert is perhaps the most sympathetic character in the film—and even though YMMV on that, he is certainly one of the protagonists. He's also the one who kidnapped the girl who helped him escape at gunpoint and then leaves her tied to a chair overnight.
  • Karaoke Bonding Scene: Robert and Celine sing along to "Beyond the Sea" at a dive bar, which segues into them sleeping with each other.
  • Lonely Rich Kid / Rich Bitch: "Only the exceptionally rich can understand how I feel right now!"
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Immediately precedes the angels' Face–Heel Turn.
  • Mountain Man: The incredibly bizarre Todd Johnson.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Robert. Unlike most examples, he freely admits his book is cheap trash created to be read on airplanes and forgotten almost instantly and has no delusions about his talents or aspirations.
  • Nice Guy: Robert is a really sweet, sincere guy even with his being a kidnapper. He can't even make a threatening ransom call without making polite conversation.
  • Outlaw Couple: Robert and Celine, eventually.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Played for Laughs with Felix.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Todd: 'What do you think I am? Some sort of backwoods lunatic with a barn full of human skulls and a scythe that I sharpen every night in preparation for armaggeddon?' ''
  • Undercover as Lovers: Celine explains their secrecy to Mr Johnson by telling him that Robert is a world-famous singer and they're on their honeymoon, trying to stay out of the prying eye of the paparazzi.
  • William Telling: The film begins with Celine shooting an apple off her butler's head with a revolver. By his behaviour, this is a regular occurrence. It's later revealed that she once shot her (now ex) boyfriend in the head while trying the stunt.