David Browne
September 22, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

High Fidelity

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
107 minutes
Wide Release Date
03/31/00
performer
John Cusack, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Joelle Carter, Joan Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Catherine Zeta-Jones
guest performer
Bruce Springsteen
director
Stephen Frears
Producer
John Cusack
distributor
Touchstone Pictures
author
John Cusack, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, Scott Rosenberg
genre
musical, Drama, Comedy

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+

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