Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Trouble with Romance

Omnibus Hell, decidedly not romantic, and reaching an absolute nadir with a scatological sequence to (hopefully) end them all.

Feb 27, 2009

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/72313-Trouble_Romance_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

A posh Los Angeles hotel provides the setting for The Trouble with Romance, an omnibus exploration of love among the confused. In one room, Jill (Jennifer Siebel Newsom) and Jack (Kip Pardue) have just hooked up and are raring to jump bones, until Jill’s ex Steve (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) makes a sudden, startling appearance while Jill is in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Rachel (Portia Dawson) is trying to talk her reluctant husband (David Eigenberg) into a three-way with a very attractive co-worker (Josie Davis). Jimmy (Roger Fan) is about to pop the question to Stephanie (Emily Liu), but things go awry when his eternally juvenile personality—not to mention his omnipresent clueless stoner buddies—makes her seriously reconsider things. Finally, a call girl (Sheetal Seth) and her john (Jordan Belfi) hash it out about the eternal romantic wars between men and women while, very gradually, a certain spark is lit between them.

Writer-director Gene Rhee has a lot to say on his subject—unfortunately, none of it is very fresh or insightful. All his tales fall into a basic cliché of “woman equals smart, man equals stupid,” harking back to an ancient, somewhat condescending formula perfected by James M. Barrie who, when he wasn’t writing Peter Pan, loved to extol the superior minds and nature of women in plays like What Every Woman Knows, Quality Street and The Little Minister. Despite an attractive, talented cast and a properly glossy look, the film is unexciting, predictable, unromantic and not even very sexy. It’s filled with coyly arranged scenes of coitus and nudity, and it’s rather telling that when one of his actors (Fan) finally bares just about all, it’s in the service of humor rather than the erotic.

The humor in this sequence is even questionable, for Rhee has a drunken, rejected Fan sitting on a toilet and actually defecating onto a picture of his ex, replete with anguished facial grimaces and horrendously real sound effects. The level of humor is a hammered frat boy’s idea of fun. It’s all well and good, of course, that indie filmmakers have complete freedom to ply their trade, but sometimes an authoritative figure standing over them to just say no would surely be welcome.


Film Review: The Trouble with Romance

Omnibus Hell, decidedly not romantic, and reaching an absolute nadir with a scatological sequence to (hopefully) end them all.

Feb 27, 2009

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/72313-Trouble_Romance_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

A posh Los Angeles hotel provides the setting for The Trouble with Romance, an omnibus exploration of love among the confused. In one room, Jill (Jennifer Siebel Newsom) and Jack (Kip Pardue) have just hooked up and are raring to jump bones, until Jill’s ex Steve (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) makes a sudden, startling appearance while Jill is in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Rachel (Portia Dawson) is trying to talk her reluctant husband (David Eigenberg) into a three-way with a very attractive co-worker (Josie Davis). Jimmy (Roger Fan) is about to pop the question to Stephanie (Emily Liu), but things go awry when his eternally juvenile personality—not to mention his omnipresent clueless stoner buddies—makes her seriously reconsider things. Finally, a call girl (Sheetal Seth) and her john (Jordan Belfi) hash it out about the eternal romantic wars between men and women while, very gradually, a certain spark is lit between them.

Writer-director Gene Rhee has a lot to say on his subject—unfortunately, none of it is very fresh or insightful. All his tales fall into a basic cliché of “woman equals smart, man equals stupid,” harking back to an ancient, somewhat condescending formula perfected by James M. Barrie who, when he wasn’t writing Peter Pan, loved to extol the superior minds and nature of women in plays like What Every Woman Knows, Quality Street and The Little Minister. Despite an attractive, talented cast and a properly glossy look, the film is unexciting, predictable, unromantic and not even very sexy. It’s filled with coyly arranged scenes of coitus and nudity, and it’s rather telling that when one of his actors (Fan) finally bares just about all, it’s in the service of humor rather than the erotic.

The humor in this sequence is even questionable, for Rhee has a drunken, rejected Fan sitting on a toilet and actually defecating onto a picture of his ex, replete with anguished facial grimaces and horrendously real sound effects. The level of humor is a hammered frat boy’s idea of fun. It’s all well and good, of course, that indie filmmakers have complete freedom to ply their trade, but sometimes an authoritative figure standing over them to just say no would surely be welcome.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Laggies
Film Review: Laggies

Disappointing comedic entry about a late-20s slacker who won’t grow up is writer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first outing directing someone else’s material. Points here for strong cast and an occasional chuckle, but otherwise there’s just no point. More »

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Film Review: The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

As charming as it is delicate, this unusually low-key, if a tad overlong, animated feature brings yet more prestige to the famed Ghibli output. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here