Even Parker Posey, the oft-described "queen of the independent comedies,"
can only carry a film so far. Burdened with the task of shouldering not
one, but two, lousy storylines and some rather insipid dialogue to boot,
the ever-adorable actress could offer few saving graces for "The Misadventures
of Margaret," a film that strives to match the manic whimsy of golden
age screwball comedies but instead toils aimlessly.
Posey stars as the title character, a frustrated novelist mired in an unfulfilling
marriage with a rather dull academic (Jeremy Northam). Fortunes turn, however,
when a frenzied Margaret finds an escape in the pages of an eighteenth-century
philosophers' diary she has been adapting. Flash to the philosopher's estate,
where we share Margaret's experiences, imagined and real, within the randy
and spirited halls of a grand French palace.
Though first-timer Brian Skeet's script matches the golden-age recipe calling
for heavy fluff and light substance, "The Misadventures of Margaret"
can't even pull off its intended homage to classic comedy. Simply put, the
film lacks charm. Viewers aren't drawn into either storyline, captivated
by any character or caught up in the film's zany nature. Skeet tosses us
a bone in the form of a somewhat droll supporting performance by Brooke
Shields (who even engages in a brief liplock with Parker Posey!), but that's
not enough to rescue "The Misadventures of Margaret."
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