Waiting for Forever ridden with cinematic blunders

There are several key ingredients to producing a successful romantic comedy, including lovable characters, extraordinary writing and most importantly, heart.

James Keach’s Waiting for Forever focuses on the journey of Will (Tom Sturridge), a hopeless romantic who follows Emma (Rachel Bilson), his childhood friend and true love, around the country.

Lovebirds · Emma (Rachel Bilson) and Will (Tom Sturridge) struggle in vain to draw complex characters out of an unoriginal romantic film. - Photo courtesy of Elissa Greer

The two leads are unquestionably authentic in their respective roles; Will is charming and considerate, reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin in demeanor.

Emma is classically vulnerable and naïve, unable to open her eyes and realize that Will is perfect for her.

The characters are both lovable and audiences would want to sympathize with them, but the film’s awkward storytelling techniques, particularly its over stylized direction and the constant use of flashbacks, prevent them from doing so.

Waiting for Forever fails to find the balance between dialogue and story, which results in a predictable and episodic film.

In the hands of a more talented writer and director, this picture could have had emotional and intellectual depth. At least, they would have presumably given the screenplay several well-deserved rewrites.

In general, contemporary romantic comedies are painfully predictable, and Waiting for Forever is no exception.

There is never a shadow of a doubt regarding how things between Will and Emma will end up.

There are no surprises. No aspect of the film is capable of capturing the audience’s attention or even allowing it to root for the characters.

In a film like this, characters are nothing if they lack motivation, and that’s exactly what Will is missing.

The supporting cast doesn’t offer any significant support to the leads, primarily because of how underwritten and unexciting its characters are.

Will’s brother Jim (Scott Mechlowicz) comes off as arrogant and selfish, while Emma’s parents, Miranda (Blythe Danner) and Richard (Richard Jenkins) serve as stage props in awkward and bizarre scenes.

The absurd sense of humor shared between Miranda and Richard leaves us feeling uncomfortable.

This is especially evident in an emotional moment where the tone of the film abruptly changes as Richard remarks just how unattractive his wife is to him.

Miranda seems clueless in every appearance, and talented character actor Richard Jenkins is forced to overplay his performance due to poor writing.

Still, Waiting for Forever does have some authenticity, where the emotions of the characters begin to surface. Emma’s final moments with her father are painful and touching.

These asides, however, are few and far between, and are disrupted by the awkward tonal changes in the other scenes.

Waiting for Forever has sincerity in small doses, but lacks the necessary arc of an emotional journey.

The film is unsure where to lead its audience due to its impoverished screenplay and, as a result, delivers its warmth and sentimentality in all the wrong moments.

The backbone of the film is Will, a character who could have provided this story with depth.

He is nothing more than a mischievous boy who refuses to grow up, much like Peter Pan.

The real cause of this personality trait, however, is the trauma that Will has experienced.

These issues are addressed but never seriously explored in the film.

Keach flirts with the idea of turning his romantic comedy into something much more dramatic.

Yet the result here is a thematically awkward portrait of an underdeveloped character with no real motivation or depth searching for true love.

It’s difficult to dislike a film like Waiting for Forever, which clearly has heart. Sometimes, though, having heart just isn’t enough.

2 replies
  1. Mary
    Mary says:

    Rachel Bilson happens to be among my favorite actresses, and for that purpose I will watch the film. I really liked your article and can completely agree with your thoughts, because what you stated happens to be a recurring problem in today’s films.

    Actually the title made perfect sense to me as ridden can in face be used in that context :)

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