Management starts out with some promise. Faced with hotel night manager Mike's (Steve Zahn) desperate persistence, traveling saleswoman Sue (Jennifer Aniston) questions his pathetic M.O., he admits that it never works, and she (being impulsive only in her benevolence) charitably asks him, "What would constitute having it work?" It's not like we haven't seen a shaggy man-child character like Mike before. Zahn has even played one or two. He's good at it. And it's not really a big surprise that an uptight businesswoman like Sue would, in an uncharacteristically unguarded moment, throw caution to the wind and have a fling with Mike. Lovable losers like Mike, who somehow bed attractive and comparatively very successful women like Sue, are as plentiful as comedic protagonists in the age of Apatow. It's just that there's enough genuine creepy awkwardness and low-rent shabbiness in these early scenes to make one hope that something fresher than "boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-matures-nearly-imperceptibly, boy-gets-girl" is afoot. Sadly, Management is formulaic indie romantic comedy at its core. This means both good things (a decent soundtrack heavily featuring the New Pornographers and a hipster Asian sidekick, played here with much appreciated vitality by James Liao) and bad: Sue's straw-man ex is a former punk rocker-turned-yogurt magnate named Jango (Woody Harrelson). Other instances of strained quirkiness include Mike's training as a Buddhist monk and a scene where he skydives into Jango's swimming pool to get Sue's attention. Zahn is roughly charming and Aniston admirably uningratiating, so it's more palatable than it might have been. Still, it's a film that subjugates character to plot, so the only clear explanation as to why Sue's feelings for Mike change when they do has more to do with running time and Hollywood convention than with anything organic to the material.
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- Released: 2008
- Rating: R
- Review: Management starts out with some promise. Faced with hotel night manager Mike's (Steve Zahn) desperate persistence, traveling saleswoman Sue (Jennifer Aniston) questions his pathetic M.O., he admits that it never works, and she (being impulsive only in her… (more)