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罗伯特.麦基评《分手大师》

 

一个有创意的故事艺术家创作的优秀作品总会给其他剧作家设置一个高标准。然而,他在创意上的造诣,却很少有人能学会。完美让人备受鼓舞,但并不能起到任何指导作用。正如几个世纪以来有智慧的人所强调的,失败乃成功之母。

 
一个年轻的剧作家,首先应该认识到其他剧作家的作品中所存在的缺陷,然后,将他人的作品视为己出,并将这些缺陷加以纠正,最后,把自己从中所学习到的东西应用到自己的创作中。一个年轻的编剧是通过这三个步骤攀上创作道路的卓越巅峰的。
 
从这个角度来看,邓超主演的《分手大师》这部影片很有启发意义,我为这部影片给出了2个小时的不宜事项确认清单。就让我们来看看这部影片的以下三个缺点:陈词滥调、缺乏可信性、缺乏原创性。
 
《分手大师》这部片子模仿了爱情喜剧片。遗憾的是,这部影片的制片人并不清楚荒谬与喜剧之间的区别,而错将其混淆。娴熟的笑话技巧是通过对观众来一个突然而出其不意的意外来逗笑他们。如果观众之前就看过这类笑话或者他们很轻易地就能预估到即将出现的妙语,对他们而言,插科打诨不足为奇,因此就不能激发他们的笑点。之前,我很多次都接触过这部影片中的闹剧模式。事实上,在2008年的一部戏剧性的南美影片《为妻觅友》(A Boyfriend for My Wife)中,就出现过这样的情节,一个男人雇佣一个骗子来帮助他与他的女人分手。
 
从爱情喜剧片的爱情故事来看,爱情必须真实可信。在观众问到这样一个问题——“她是如何看待他的?”,答案必须真实可靠。在《分手大师》这部影片中,我们很自然地会怀疑,为什么两个如此俊美而又聪明的女人,其中一个是妻子,另一个是情人,会爱上这样一个如此没有吸引力而又肤浅自私的男人呢?你可能会回答说,因为他有钱。如果这就是真实答案的话,我们就对这两个女人没有什么好同情的了。
 
这部影片的不真实性方面的问题从一开始它与主题脱离就显露出来了。如果反派角色是一个分手大师,那么他就很对女性的心理具有很强的洞察力。他应该就像在《为妻觅友》(A Boyfriend for My Wife)这部影片中的分手专家一样,是一个诱惑女性的高手。然而,《分手大师》这部影片中的反派角色对女性有着陈旧而狭隘的偏见,这是我在世界上任何一个地方所观看过21世纪的影片中反映出的男性特点。梅远贵通过假斗殴的手段最终成功俘获小春的芳心其实一点也不搞笑——甚至非常愚蠢。小春陷入他的诡计中,并不是爱,表现出的恰恰是一个女人的愚蠢。
 
另一方面,这部影片的制片人可能会争辩说,本影片的观众可能以前从没看过这类东西呢,那么看看这些陈词滥调的东西对他们而言也是新奇的,这就是本影片票房总收入达2亿美元的原因。所以我不得不退一步说,在这个后现代世界,糟糕的剧本经常也会产生很多金钱。
 
然而,这部影片最终的启示意义是原创性的必要。像世界各地的其他制片人一样,这部影片的制片人只是模仿了好莱坞大片的陈词滥调。影片的格局、人物以及喜剧惯例都完全相互冲突。纸张与塑料回收是一回事,可是拜托,笑话不是这样子的……
 
但是,在我的讲座中,我所教授的是精于专业性与原创性。经济上的成功并不会改变像《分手大师》这样的影片所透露出的非专业性与缺乏创意性。
 
罗伯特·麦基
2014年8月
 
 
 
 
 
A brilliant work by an innovative story artist sets a high standard for other writers. His creative triumph, however, teaches very little. Perfection inspires, but it does not instruct. As wise men have said for centuries, failure is the great teacher.
 
A young writer must first recognize imperfections in the work of other writers, then imaginatively correct those imperfections as if they were his own, and finally apply what he has learned to his writing. With these three steps, a young writer climbs the ladder to excellence.
 
Seen in this light, Chau Deng’s THE BREAKUP GURU is a very instructive, two-hour checklist of what not to do. Let’s look at just three of its weaknesses: clichés, incredibility, and unoriginality.
 
THE BREAKUP GURU mimics the Romanic Comedy genre. Unfortunately, these filmmakers do not know the difference between silliness and comedy. Skilled joke technique provokes laughter by hitting the audience with sudden, unexpected surprises. If the audience has seen the joke before, or if it can easily anticipate the punch line, gags have no surprise, and therefore trigger no laughter. I have this film’s farce routines in dozens of times before. In fact, the very premise of a man hiring a seducer to take a woman off his hands was the inspiration for a delightful 2008 South American film entitled A BOYFRIEND FOR MY WIFE.
 
As to the love story side of Romantic Comedy, romance demands credibility. When the audience asks the question, “What does she see in him?”, the answer must seem believable. In THE BREAKUP GURU, we naturally wonder why two beautiful, intelligent women, one a wife, the other a mistress, would fall in love with an profoundly unattractive, shallow, self-absorbed man. You might answer because he’s rich. If that’s true, then we have no empathy for the women. 
 
The film’s credibility problems begin when it betrays its own title. If the protagonist is a breakup guru, then he should have great insight into the psychology of women. He should be a superb seducer, as was the breakup artist in A BOYFRIEND FOR MY WIFE. Instead, this film’s protagonist has the most old-fashioned, narrow-minded, provincial ideas about women of any man I have seen in a 21st century film from anywhere in the world. Yuan Gui’s final effort to seduce Xiao Chun with a fake attack is not funny in the least--just incredibly stupid. That she falls for his trick isn’t a sign of love, just an equally foolish woman.
 
However, the most important lesson this film teaches is the need for originality. These filmmakers, like so many others around the world, have simply copied Hollywood clichés. The film’s premise, characters, and comedy routines have beards down to the ground. It’s one thing to recycle paper and plastic, but not jokes…please.
 
On the other hand, the filmmakers could argue that the audience for this film has not seen this stuff before, so these old clichés are new for them, and that’s why it earned $200,000,000 gross. I have to concede that in this post-modern world, bad writing often makes a lot of money. 
In my lectures, however, I teach professional and original excellence. Financial success doesn’t make films like THE BREAKUP GURU any less amateur and uncreative. 
 
 
Robert McKee
August 2014         
 
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