film review: Management

You’re incredibly sweet. Beneath the part of you that’s not.
Mike to Sue.

Mike [Steve Zahn] is the manager of his family’s motel and Sue [Jennifer Aniston] checks in while on a business trip. Mike nearly startles Sue by showing up at her door bearing a bottle of wine, “compliments of management,” which he proceeds to share. The next night he arrives with champagne. Confused with his aggressive tactics, Sue asks if his “game” ever works. He admits not that often. Sue asks: “What would be a success?” The seemingly mis-matched pair hook-up in the laundry room, and Mike develops an obsession for the eco-conscious, driven professional. Although Sue has accomplished many things, she remains insecure. Mike barely knows her and immediately notices that she takes care of everybody but herself. Impulsively, he jumps on a plane to Maryland and shows up at Sue’s office. She’s flattered but really only wants stability which ex-boyfriend Jango [a frightening Woody Harrelson], a wealthy yoga expert and dog breeder, offers. Sue moves to Aberdeen, Wash. to be with him. Upon hearing this, Mike follows her there. Mike is one uber-geeky, yet myopically determined dude. When Sue tells him that she’s truly back together with Jango, Mike settles in Aberdeen and waits Say Anything-style. He’s not really sure he can compete with Jango but finds himself so attracted to Sue that he will do almost anything to win her over.

Management is an off-beat, darker romantic comedy. The film has touching moments, awkward moments, and comical moments.
Whenever Aniston dyes her hair brown [Office Space, Friends with Money], she’s going for a more serious, darker comedic performance. It is never a bad thing. She often performs much better in these introspective roles instead of in some lighter, mostly forgettable roles [Marley and Me, He’s Just Not That Into You]. Zahn excels at the humble, sweet guy roles. He’s the best friend/boyfriend that every girl wants but doesn’t yet know she wants. He slips into these roles so effortlessly too. He’s simultaneously funny and charming. Management actually brought tears to my eyes at times. Who doesn’t want that kind of unconditional love and nearly blind commitment from someone?

Grade: B+

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