It’s the same old story: a novelist (Luke Wilson) incurs a 100K dog track gambling debt and is then assaulted by fey, bat wielding, laptop-burning Cuban mobster loan sharks who demand payment in 30 days, or they will kill him. To beat the reaper, Luke must write his second novel and obtain his advance from his publisher (Rob Reiner) within a month. Then he develops a nasty, and possibly fatal, writer’s block. Without a computer, Luke needs a different way to get his words down, so he convinces an attractive stenographer (Kate Hudson) to work for him for a month without pay while he dictates his book to her. It could happen.
Sometimes I wonder why there are so many movies with blocked writer protagonists. My latest theory is that lots of screenwriters encounter writing blocks that they then try to overcome by writing about their own struggle. This is not a bad strategy for a fiction writer, but in the case of Alex and Emma, one wonders if some screenwriting blocks should be respected.
The fear of death and one day of Kate Hudson’s incessant harping finally provide Luke with motivation he needs to break through his resistances and start to spew out his story. The viewer now watches both Luke and Kate’s unfolding love story, and the story he is dictating, in which the murderous Cuban loan sharks become flamenco dancers who wear ruffled silk shirts. Don’t ask.
You are probably dying to know if the book gets finished, if Luke successfully deals with his intimacy and commitment problems, and if Luke and Kate end up kissing in the final scene. Normally I would consider it unconscionable to reveal the predictable, happy ending of a frothy, brainless romantic comedy, but in this case, to help you to get back to your own writing instead of wasting precious time on Alex and Emma; the answers are yes, yes and yes.