2001, NR, 85 min. Directed by Julie Davis. Starring Jennifer Bransford, Mitchell Whitfield, Jeff Cesario, Caroline Aaron, Nick Chinlund, Julie Davis.
REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., Oct. 18, 2002
She's a “feminist icon” with a best-selling self-help manual and hordes of Ellen Jamesian-like fans who wear baby-Ts emblazoned with slogans proclaiming their independence from men. So why is Amy Mandell (Davis) strangely attracted to Matthew Starr (Chinlund), an arrogant L.A. shock jock specializing in saline-enhanced guests? After a head-to-head matchup on the air, the two begin tentatively dating. But who's more afraid to commit -- him or her? With a premise like that, you'd think sparks would fly, but this rom-com is recommended only to those who would enjoy 85 minutes of constant yammering about how “everyone's afraid to let someone in” and being “misguided, horny, and ultimately just a hopeless romantic looking to connect.” The complications are predictable, all but sitcom-level (Why isn't he calling the next day? Did she say “I love you” too soon? Does this dress make me look fat?), and the script is thick with platitudes about how women want love and men want sex. Add in some cutesy animated intertitles (“Chapter 2: Don't Date Studs”) and lots of talking to the camera, and you've got one big bore. There's something to be said for the film's ultimate message -- why not just shut up, quit playing games, and trust each other? -- but it's awfully hard to find in there, hidden under all the stereotypes (about “bleeding-cunt feminists,” about men who constantly watch football and masturbate) and comic formula. While all the film's characters rally 'round to remind Amy that she's brilliant, wealthy, a role model for women, attractive, and possessed of “great tits,” Davis comes off like a female Myles Berkowitz (20 Dates) -- jealous, possessive, narcissistic, prudish, insecure, demanding, and obsessive about the cellulite on her “big Jewish ass.” A fawning critic from the Los Angeles Times pops up in one scene to call her book “a pearl amidst the swine,” but it sounds like the same old retrograde “women who love too much” twaddle that we ladies are supposed to eat up like manna. There's a bright spot in the form of Amy's publicist (screen veteran Aaron), a salty, whiskey-voiced lesbian; it's a pity the movie isn't about her.