Buying the Cow (2002) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for sexual content, nudity and language
Running time: 88 min.
Cast: Jerry O'Connell, Bridgette Wilson, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Bellamy, Alyssa Milano, Annabeth Gish, Ron Livingston
Director: Walt Becker
Screenplay: Walt Becker, Peter W. Nelson
Review published December 6, 2002
While both films are somewhat lowbrow sex comedies, there is just no justice in this world that a horrible film like Tomcats could get a theatrical release, when a surprisingly funny take on the fear of getting married heads straight to video. Buying the Cow gets its rather unique name from the oft-heard bachelor motto, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" It isn't the most original take on a romantic comedy, and for a while you might amuse yourself playing "Name the Movie Where You've Seen That Before," starting right off the bat with the "woman as cow" metaphor from Someone Like You from the year before. However, despite the fact that there is a lack of freshness in the main plot, Buying the Cow did one thing which most other romantic comedies rarely do nowadays. It made me laugh. Repeatedly.
O'Connell (Mission to Mars, Scream 2) stars as David, who's facing the prospect of getting married to Sarah (Wilson, Just Visiting) and although she is wonderful in every way, an experience when he was younger has him wondering if she's really the one or if his soul mate might still be out there somewhere. He has two months to figure it out, as Sarah has set a deadline for him to pop the question or lose her forever, and while she goes on assignment to New York, he opts to play the field in Los Angeles, in order to find out if she is Ms. Right or just Ms. Right Now.
Credit goes to co writer/director Walt Becker for giving the film the right look and energy for which to build a farce upon, and even if we've seen this story in various forms before, the hip music and cast chemistry give the film a feeling of freshness that is crucial. Although O'Connell is appealing in the lead role, it's Ryan Reynolds, star of Becker's Van Wilder, who steals most of the laughs as the womanizing buddy who confronts the fact that he might be gay. The rest of the cast rounds out well, with Bill Bellamy (Love Stinks, Any Given Sunday) showing some skill, and Alyssa Milano (Commando, Fear) continuing her string of risqué roles as Amy the stripper (although she doesn't have any nude scenes, sorry porn-mongers.)
Buying the Cow is recommended for people in the mood for something light and funny, and who won't mind the superficial story because the situations are amusing, and it might especially appealing for those in the 20-35 age range. Although the studio buried it on video, it's still better than most theatrically released films of a similar sort, and if you find yourself watching all romantic comedies, no matter how dumb or contrived, you certainly won't be wasting your time with this one.
©2003 Vince Leo