Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More This Year's Love

Reviewed by Steve Rhodes

So many characters, so little time. In writer/director David Kane's THIS YEAR'S LOVE, Danny (Douglas Henshall) dumps his wife of 35 minutes, Hannah (Catherine McCormack, the star of DANGEROUS BEAUTY), after it comes to his attention that she has recently slept with his Best Man.

This event sets off a chain reaction which causes them and many other characters to play a game of musical beds, not surprising in a movie in which shallowness rules. Obviously incompatible characters form quickie relationships based mainly on coincidence and convenience.

Besides Danny and Hannah, the other human couplers include: Sophie (Jennifer Ehle from WILDE), a 30-year-old single mom with a penchant for abusive partners, Cameron (Dougray Scott), a bad painter who washes his hair every few months, Liam (Ian Hart), a wimpy comic book dealer, and Marey (Kathy Burke), an airport janitor and band singer.

Marey, as the anti-model, is the least likely character of all. Plump and completely unattractive, she can't understand why handsome men would rather date her than the gorgeous women to which they are accustomed. Neither will you. One character claims it is because of her sense of humor, but the script gives her little funny to do or say.

Kane falls back on the usual assortment of romantic comedy clich├ęs. Drunken women pass out or throw up at the most inopportune moments. And sober characters trying to engage in sexual activities fall into the furniture and each other in slapstick routines worthy of vaudeville.

Although the performances are pleasant enough, the problem with the film is that we've seen it all many times before. THIS YEAR'S LOVE can best be thought of as a dumbed down FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.

THIS YEAR'S LOVE runs 1:48. It is not yet rated but will undoubtedly be an R for sex, drug usage and language. The film would be acceptable for older teenagers.

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