Los Angeles is known in the film industry for its widespread ability to stand in for virtually any city in the world onscreen. Other cities standing in for Los Angeles? That is a much less common phenomenon, though thanks to runaway production, it has been known to happen. The Vancouver filming of “BH90210,” the 2019 meta-revival of ‘90s hit “Beverly Hills, 90210,” is a particularly egregious example. A few others? “The L.A. Complex” pegged Toronto to mask as the City of Angels, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” looked to Vancouver as a La La Land surrogate, as did the first two seasons of “Lucifer,” and “The Kissing Booth” took things even farther by venturing all the way to South Africa for a SoCal stand-in! There are some L.A. sites, though, that simply can’t be replicated elsewhere, namely the Malibu shoreline and its “27 miles of scenic beauty.” As such, producers of the ‘Bu-set movie “Some Kind of Beautiful” opted to film on location in the seaside city.
The 2014 flick tells the story of self-described “libidinous” University of Cambridge professor Richard Haig (Pierce Brosnan), who, upon getting one of his much younger students, Kate (Jessica Alba), pregnant, decides to change his debaucherous ways. The recovering cad promptly relocates from London, following Kate to her native California, where the two settle into an idyllic Malibu estate, and he becomes a doting dad to their son, Jake (Duncan Joiner). The couple’s happiness is short-lived, however, as Kate soon falls for Brian (Ben McKenzie), a co-worker her own age, which causes Richard to return to his lothario roots, whereupon he beds Kate’s sister, Olivia (Salma Hayek).
Marketed as a romantic comedy, the film largely fell flat with audiences and critics alike, a sentiment reflected by its pitifully low score of 6% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com places the blame of the flick’s “tedium” squarely on the shoulders of screenwriter Matthew Newman and director Tom Vaughan, and not on Brosnan and his co-stars, of whom he says, “It’s difficult to feel sorry for such good-looking, impeccably dressed lead actors, but this film makes it possible. There isn’t a line or moment where you don’t feel their strain from trying to make something out of nothing.” Ouch!
At least Kate and Richard’s Malibu hacienda makes for a stunning distraction throughout the 99-minute runtime!