Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List
Starring Victoria Justice and Pierson Fode
Directed by Kristin Hanggi, based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
IMDB Rating: 5.9
Note: This has to be one of the most ridiculous trailers ever. Seriously, don’t bother buying this film, the trailer has handily put the ENTIRE story into a free, easy to access 2 1/2 minute production for you!
Based on the book by the same minds behind Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes another pretty unique romance set in the city of New York.
Naomi (Justice) and Ely (Fode) have been best friends since they were little kids. While Naomi has loved Ely for many years, Ely is only interested in guys. To make sure they don’t fall out over guys they make the No Kiss List, a list of New York guys that are off limits to both of them. This works until Ely kisses Naomi’s boyfriend, throwing their legendary friendship into turmoil.
First of all, the plot was really intriguing, an immediate pull for me towards this film. Also, the fact that I loved Nick and Norah’s helped a lot, Cohn and Levithan also penning this book. However, while the innocence of Nick and Norah made you feel for the two of them, Naomi and Ely are quite bullish in their actions. Naomi is the classic beautiful college girl who has the pick of the guys but can’t get the one she wants, whereas Ely is an arrogant, in your face character. Because of this, I found it hard to genuinely feel sorry for them, which has to be the aim for a failed romance movie. Also, you really get the sense that they have both developed as characters by the end (yes, I read the book), the movie gave off a ‘nothing has changed’ feel at the end as far as N&E are concerned.
Although the story (or at least the portrayal of an okay book) was disappointing, the chemistry between Victoria Justice and Pierson Fode was good to watch! I got the impression that they really did get along, which made their whole relationship quite believable. As individuals I’m not sure either was exactly Hollywood material, but I thought that they were both solid enough for this small-time piece. While Justice (who I gather is some kind of mini-celebrity in America? I had no idea) had moments where she looks like she could make it as a major actor, there just wasn’t enough of them. I don’t see her headlining major pictures anytime soon, put it that way.
Kristin Hanggi, whose most famous work is the production and direction of hit musical Rock of Ages, does quite a good job of directing this film. A big fan of shaking and tilting the camera, she really developed a level of realism and immersion that would have been missed without her direction. This is only her second go at directing a feature film, and while she has a style that wouldn’t work in most major blockbusters, there’s definitely potential for her to kick on and make a serious name for herself as a director! Keep an eye out for her in the future.
I was attracted towards Naomi and Ely after being blown away by Nick and Norah. Having now watch and read both stories, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is comfortably worse. I really interesting idea, but the characters are too brash, and the story past the plot is too obvious, making for an almost cliché watch (and I mean more than the NYC hipster stuff they try and portray as cool).
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