Cabaret songstress Billie Golden (Isabel Rose) dreams of being Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. She dresses retro, sings classics from the Great American Songbook and eludes reality whenever she can. The fact that she performs in a noisy airport lounge and works as a waitress fails to dampen her imperturbable spirits. She soon finds herself with a skull-scratching choice of two guys: a conventionally attractive, if dull, lawyer (Cameron Bancroft) and a scruffy pianist (Andrew McCarthy, still logy and tic-ridden), who tries to give her regular reality checks.

Anything But Love strains to be a homage to frothy films like Breakfast, Funny Face and The Band Wagon, but lacks the essential ingredients of real charm or wit. The script, co-written by Rose with director Robert Cary, is flatfooted in the extreme, lacking any comic value or real human insight. (The only humorous moments are provided by Eartha Kitt, playing herself with her usual growlingly eccentric intensity.) Rose is indeed quite the clotheshorse in thrift-shop recreations of Audrey Hepburn costumes, but when she opens her mouth to sing, you realize this girl just doesn't have it. And her lack of talent isn't half as amusing as, say, Renee Taylor's in the far more appealing 1971 romantic comedy about a hopeless aspiring star, Made for Each Other. The unappetizing Alix Korey plays Rose's alcoholic, astrology-addled mother and is just as off-putting.

However, it must be admitted that when you hear Rose's breathy manglings of standards like "By Myself" or "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," a certain creepy cabaret authenticity is achieved. In this weirdly insulated, purely ego-driven, tiny world, the terrain is indeed littered with like mediocrities who'll do anything to sit on a stool in the spotlight and imagine themselves to be Rosemary Clooney or Billie Holliday in their salad days.

-David Noh