We gave it a C+
In the spirit of its list-driven main character, the top five reasons High Fidelity misses a beat in its transition from page to (small) screen:
1. Nick Hornby’s sage 1995 novel, centered on record obsessive Rob, explored that mystical connection between pop music and life. But director Stephen Frears’ version, starring John Cusack, lurches disjointedly between Rob’s record store and his bedroom exploits. Think of it as two distinct LP sides that don’t make a cohesive album.
2. The plodding central plot — Rob’s relationship with Laura (Iben Hjejle) — is more lethally paced than Yes’ 1973 triple-LP live album Yessongs.
3. The story isn’t hurt by a locale change (London to Chicago), but the film is hurt by Jack Black, whose hyper-snob Barry wears out his welcome faster than you can say ”Hootie.”
4. Rob and his rock-elitist coworkers practically drool as Lisa Bonet’s dreadlocked folkie croons Peter Frampton’s ”Baby, I Love Your Way.” Enough said.
5. The book’s repeated, inspired riffs on the mix tape as a form of interpersonal communication don’t surface in the movie until the very end. It’s like an electrifying song arriving at the end of a filler-laden album. C+