Who remembers 1997? I know, it was a very long time ago, but it was a special year in that it gave us two slightly similar romantic comedies based around Stockholm syndrome. The first to be released, Excess Baggage, co-stars Benicio del Toro as a car thief and unintentional kidnapper who falls for the rich brat (Alicia Silverstone) he's accidentally abducted. Two months later there was Danny Boyle's better version, A Life Less Ordinary, in which Cameron Diaz plays the spoiled rich girl who falls for her captor (Ewan McGregor). Why am I taking this nostalgic trip into the dueling rom-coms of yesteryear, you ask? Because Deadline reports that Del Toro and Diaz have been perfectly cast together in a new romantic comedy with the awesomely bad pun title An Ex to Grind.

Based on a novel by Jane Heller, the movie will unfortunately not involve a kidnapping. However, it will be a screwball comedy in which the two initially don't get along but ultimately get (back) together. A version of the remarriage comedy plot, Del Toro will play a former pro athlete who has let himself go following a career-ending injury. Diaz is his successful ex-wife, who doesn't want to keep paying alimony. So she finds him a replacement bride to make her separation easy and cost-free, but she soon regrets the scheme. May I suggest Silverstone for that unfilled role? Besides the continued homage to 13 years ago, she is on the comeback trail (if being cast to star in both Butter and Vamps is any indication), and she might be the only actress more irritating than Diaz, allowing for audiences to accept the latter as the preferred wife in the end.
Del Toro and Diaz have previously been in a movie together. A year following their kidnap rom-coms, they uncomfortably shared an elevator in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, though Diaz's role was quite small in that film. Will audiences now believe them as husband and wife? Del Toro isn't exactly the rom-com type, but the Oscar-winner can be quite hilarious when he's given the chance. And he'll be reunited with his Traffic and Che producer, Laura Bickford (working with Bride Wars producer Julie Yorn), so that's a sign there could be some serious acting expected. Here's hoping that he can elevate the quality of this film, regardless of whether he has any chemistry with the queen of gross-out rom-coms.

Check out that F&L scene to get a good idea of how An Ex to Grind could start out, with Del Toro fat and mustachioed and Diaz both disgusted and afraid. Would you buy it?
categories Cinematical