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A Life Less Ordinary

A Life Less Ordinary title card

Year - 1997
Studio - Twentieth Century Fox
Stars - Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Holly Hunter, Delroy Lindo, Dan Heydaya, Ian McNeice, Stanley Tucci, Ian Holm, Tony Shaloub
Director - Danny Boyle
Writing Credits - John Hodge
Music - David Arnold


In Heaven, Gabriel is responsible for the implementation of a new incentive program - angels must succeed in their assigned mission or they will remain on Earth. O'Reilly (Holly Hunter) and Jackson (Delroy Lindo) are dispatched to cause two people to fall in love, Celine Naville (Cameron Diaz), a spoiled daughter of a rich industrialist (Ian Holm), and Robert Lewis (Ewan McGregor), a janitor and aspiring writer of trash novels. The couple have not yet met each other.

Robert is fired from his job at Celine's father's company, to be replaced by a robot, and his girlfriend announces she has fallen in love with her aerobics instructor and is leaving him. Then a repo team (headed by angels O'Reilly and Jackson) shows up to repossess household items and to evict him from his home. At his wit's end, Robert angrily charges into Naville's office, where he is in the process of berating his daughter. He is attacked by a group of Naville's security guards and is able to grab one of their guns in the scuffle. He threatens to shoot Naville unless he's given his job back, and starts to reluctantly count down, "Five, four, three, two......". When he pauses, Celine shouts "One!" and his gun fires, shooting Naville in the leg. Robert grabs Celine as a hostage, and escapes with her into the wilderness.

A Life Less Ordinary poster

He takes her to a cabin in the woods, where she tells him that she had been kidnapped when she was 12, and that it took her father six weeks to pay the ransom. She advises him on kidnapping skills, and tells him what to say on the phone when he makes his ransom demands. In the meantime, Naville hires two consultants (O'Reilly and Jackson) to get his daughter back, without losing any of his money.

They arrange for the exchange and are able to capture Robert before he can escape with the money. Jackson takes Robert into the woods under the pretense he will shoot him, believing that putting him in jeopardy will cause Celine to react out of her feelings for him. She indeed saves Robert, and the two escape again.

Although Robert and Celine are developing strong feelings for each other, her temperament and his pride continue to cause clashes between them. Jackson decides to send her a love poem in Robert's handwriting. She tells Robert that she is very moved by the (corny) poem, but he denies having written it.

Naville finds the location of the cabin and arrives with one of his thugs to retrieve his money and his daughter, in that order. O'Reilly and Jackson attempt to intervene but are shot by the thug.

Observing the situation from Heaven, Gabriel places an urgent call to the "Big Man" and makes a plea for Divine intervention. His request is granted, and, although Robert is shot, the wound has no effect. He and Celine fall, once and for all, in love, and O'Reilly and Jackson return to Heaven.

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