From the magazine

The Good Night
Directed by Jake Paltrow (R)

A man finds an escape from an unhappy relationship in his dreams.


The Good Night is “as thin and wispy as a dream you can’t quite remember in the morning,” said Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News. Jake Paltrow’s directorial debut, about a man who falls out of love with his girlfriend and in love with a girl who exists only in his dreams, suffers from rookie mistakes. Paltrow’s connections might have saved him: The 32-year-old assembled a strong cast that includes his sister Gwyneth, Danny DeVito, and Martin Freeman (from the original, British version of The Office). But Paltrow’s inexperience comes through, as he wastes the comedic talent of Freeman, turns Gwyneth into a shrew, and makes you wish DeVito had directed the movie instead. The Good Night “comes off like a third-rate Woody Allen movie,” said Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter. The screenplay reads like a first draft and the plot grows wearying, rather than intriguingly complex. Flashes of bookish wit confirm that Paltrow has some talent, said David Edelstein in New York. He “takes familiar (embarrassingly familiar) male-angst material” and “hits you from behind and underneath while the bleakness smacks you in the face.” Paltrow might be another case of a member of Hollywood royalty presuming he can write and direct. Then again, he might be the real thing.