High time

John Cusack's romantic comedy about a man... and his record collection

In many ways, High Fidelity is a much better-done version of Singles, down to the unexpected cameo by Bruce Springsteen, reminiscent of former Seattle Supersonic Xavier McDaniel's don't-cum-yet appearance in Cameron Crowe's tribute to Seattle's grunge years. Then, there's also Rob's running commentary delivered directly to the camera, the book's inner monologue come to life. And most important, the obsessive attention to detail placed on the music that surrounds the film, almost swallowing it whole at times.

The film sometimes one-ups the book in that respect, from the opening-credits sequence featuring The Thirteenth Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me" to the perfect marriage of characters, scenes, and songs (Laura, with Liz Phair's "Baby Got Going," for one). Music is the soundtrack and the plot, the beginning, middle, and end. High Fidelity does its best to bring itself up to right now: In one of the few scenes that doesn't really pay off, Rob boasts that he's "about to sell five copies of The Beta Band's The Three EPs." Whether he does or not -- you never know, because seconds later he's out the door chasing down two skate-punk shoplifters -- isn't the point. At least, it doesn't seem to be. As with Grosse Pointe Blank, the film is loaded with similar we're-hipper-than-you references. Remember the radio station Minnie Driver worked at in Grosse Pointe Blank giving away tickets to see Palace? Yeah, that would happen.

That, more than anything, is what High Fidelity amounts to, giving all record-collecting geeks a series of thrills (Rob's favorite book is Cash by Johnny Cash? Me too!) and a reason not to feel so bad about spending a lifetime obsessing over albums and the people who make them. Cusack's Rob proves that you can be a grown-up (eventually, at least) and still know, in a split-second, that High Fidelity is the name of an Elvis Costello song -- track 10 on 1980's Get Happy!, more specifically. Well, some people might be beyond all hope.

"How can you like Marvin Gaye and Art Garfunkel?" Rob (John Cusack) and Laura (Iben Hjejle) stroll down amnesia lane.
"How can you like Marvin Gaye and Art Garfunkel?" Rob (John Cusack) and Laura (Iben Hjejle) stroll down amnesia lane.

Details

Starring John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joan Cusack, and Tim Robbins

Release Date:
March 31

Official site

Directed by Stephen Frears

Screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, and Scott Rosenberg, based on the novel by Nick Hornby

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