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Transplanted from England to the not-so-mean streets of Chicago, the screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's cult-classic novelHigh Fidelityemerges unscathed from its Americanization, idiosyncrasies intact, thanks to John Cusack's inimitable charm and a nimble, nifty screenplay (cowritten by Cusack). Early-thirtysomething Rob Gordon (Cusack) is a slacker who owns a vintage record shop, a massive collection of LPs, and innumerable top-five lists in his head. At the opening of the film, Rob recounts directly to the audience his all-time top-five breakups--which doesn't include his recent falling out with his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle), who has just moved out of their apartment. Thunderstruck and obsessed with Laura's desertion (but loath to admit it), Rob begins a quest to confront the women who instigated the aforementioned top-five breakups to find out just what he did wrong.

Low on plot and high on self-discovery, High Fidelity takes a good 30 minutes or so to find its groove (not unlike Cusack's Grosse Pointe Blank), but once it does, it settles into it comfortably and builds a surprisingly touching momentum. Rob is basically a grown-up version of Cusack's character in Say Anything (who was told "Don't be a guy--be a man!"), and if you like Cusack's brand of smart-alecky romanticism, you'll automatically be won over (if you can handle Cusack's almost-nonstop talking to the camera). Still, it's hard not to be moved by Rob's plight. At the beginning of the film he and his coworkers at the record store (played hilariously by Jack Black and Todd Louiso) seem like overgrown boys in their secret clubhouse; by the end, they've grown up considerably, with a clear-eyed view of life. Ably directed by Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons), High Fidelity features a notable supporting cast of the women in Rob's life, including the striking, Danish-born Hjejle, Lisa Bonet as a sultry singer-songwriter, and the triumphant triumvirate of Lili Taylor, Joelle Carter, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Rob's ex-girlfriends. With brief cameos by Tim Robbins as Laura's new, New Age boyfriend and Bruce Springsteen as himself. --Mark Englehart

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CastJack Black, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusack, Todd Louiso, Iben Hjejle
DirectorStephen Frears
Genre:  Comedy
Release Date:  2000
MPAA Rating:  R
DVD Release Date:  September 8, 2000
Runtime:  113 minutes
Studio:  Touchstone / Disney
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More High Fidelity (2000) reviews
review by . June 22, 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. John Cusack is his usual charming man-next-door with issues. Jack Black plays his standard stick-it-to-the-man rebel with a heart. Three men with extreme and unnecessary music knowledge spend their days and nights together bantering, arguing and not living their lives. The "non-musical" are excluded from their club, and they even have issues with each other.    Throw a break-up with a long-term girlfriend in the mix and watch as the world begins …
review by . June 21, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
I intensely disliked Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity - in fact, I dislike pretty much everything that Hornsby stands for in contemporary British literature, and so I only ever came to see this courtesy of losing in a game of Scissor-Paper-Stone at the video store. It's one game I'm glad I lost.This is a terrific, intelligent comedy, set on fire by the outstanding performances of the cast, but especially the comedy double act of Jack Black and Todd Louiso, John Cusack's geeky sidekicks at the record …
review by . April 15, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Wonderful Cusaks     Cons: Smarmy and not believable     I love the Cusak's both John and his sister Joan. I try never to miss a film by either of them. This one however was a disappointment as I never could really connect with the characters. Maybe because I'm a woman, but it seemed to me that the plot was thin and the situations were simply not believable. I have had several male friends think that this film hits a dead one mark on how men view life. …
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