March 12, 2006
Courtney Cox stars as a disturbed photography teacher who recently lost her boyfriend in a drugstore robbery. As her world starts to crumble, does she have more to do with the murder than even she knows?
While the rest of the cast of Friends were struggling to launch movie careers, Courtney Cox had already cut her teeth in films like Ace Ventura and the Dolph Lungren version of HeMan: Masters of the Universe before taking her most successful role in the Scream series. She’s the only member of that show who can do drama as well as comedy (Schwimmer will always be bumbling Ross) and she’s almost the saving grace in this atmospheric but ultimately jumbled psychological thriller.
Sophie Jacobs (Cox) stops with her boyfriend one night to grab a snack in an all night convenience store but he ends up being part of a robbery and is shot. Sophie starts to see a shrink (Dunn in cruise-control) and take medication as she returns to her job teaching photography. Anyone who’s seen Jacob’s Ladder will have a good idea what the twist is, but where that film was rich on character, November is all plot, leaving us with very little to connect with the main characters. We learn they like Chinese food and live together. That’s about it.
Relative newcomer Greg Harrison creates the odd moody shot (a wide shot of the convenience store revealed to be a slide picture on a wall is pure Mulholland Drive) but relies far too heavily on the same blue light source and blunt editing. By the time we discover what really happened in the robbery it makes little sense and frankly we don’t care enough to go back and perhaps see the hidden clues. M. Night Shyamalan can sleep soundly.
That said, Cox does a decent job of things on the acting front, underplaying more than usual, and there’s a reality in her and LeGros’s relationship that neatly sidesteps the usual “perfect partner dies” pitfalls. It also looks more expensive than it was to shoot thanks to being shot on digital. But ultimately it’s too artsy to be a good thriller and too high-school-English-essay to have any impact emotionally. With a little more heart and a little less Robert McKee this should have been so much more.