Sunday, February 8, 2015

Such A Good Start, Lovesick Sinks Unfortunately Fast!

The Good: High charm factor, Some good lines
The Bad: Repetitive, Predictable plot, Droll narrative technique
The Basics: The Matt LeBlanc romantic comedy Lovesick starts out so fresh, but develops into an unwatchable mess as it repeats itself over and over again.

As Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, the major studios and the indie distributors are releasing their held-back romantic comedies. Unfortunately, many of them have been fizzling this year, like Love, Rosie (reviewed here!). This year is not going to be the one that sees the next When Harry Met Sally . . . (reviewed here!), but the one that at least alludes to it is Lovesick. Lovesick is a Matt LeBlanc vehicle that is surprisingly high on charm and has some decent lines to it, even if it is unlikely to get much attention.

Matt LeBlanc has had his greatest success since Friends (reviewed here!) playing a parody of himself on Episodes and Lovesick seems to illustrate that either he was perfectly cast for Friends, has a very limited range, or is just exceptionally good at playing fun, kind, slightly goofy characters. His character of Charlie Darby is hardly as ridiculous as his character of Joey, but LeBlanc plays the character with a similar sense of wide-eyed optimism.

After having his heart broken many, many times, Charlie vows to not fall in love again and to only date people he can see no future with. The day after going out with his best friend and his wife, with a disastrous, racist date, Charlie is visited at his school by Molly, who is looking for a job at the school. When Charlie and Molly start dating, things seem too good to believe. Molly goes off to Las Vegas, telling Charlie it is to visit her sick Grandmother. Charlie Facebook stalks Molly and learns that she has a boyfriend in Las Vegas and breaks up with her via text.

Charlie’s best friend Jason brings one of Charlie’s ex-girlfriends over and she shows him her dissertation, which illustrates how some people in love exhibit the same biochemical traits as psychotics. Realizing this allows Jason to talk Charlie down and together they erase the break-up texts before Molly can read them. They go off together for a weekend, where Charlie is exceptionally jealous of her talking to other men. After capers with visiting her parents and a jealous incident that makes Charlie believe that Molly is having an affair with Dr. Oz in Tuscany, Charlie has to decide whether to come clean to Molly or get the help he desperately needs.

Lovesick is big on charm and has a number of moments that feel very fun. Charlie sending Molly’s grandmother 1,000 cantaloupes as a “get well” gift before framing Molly’s nephew to get information on the family is pretty original and well-executed. But the neurosis starts to eat away at the charm about midway through the movie. The more Charlie overreacts, the more the film starts to drag.

The premise of Lovesick is original-enough, but it quickly becomes repetitive. Charlie continues to leap to inappropriate conclusions, like that Molly is cheating on him with the concierge, without modifying his behavior. This actually makes some sense; if Charlie is biochemically a psychotic when he is in love, simply acknowledging the problem should not fix it. If Jason truly believed that Michelle was right about Charlie, it seems like he would have encouraged Charlie to go see a psychiatrist and get him on anti-psychotics. Fortunately, that is actually addressed in the film. That allows the elementary school’s counselor the chance to amuse for a scene.

Similarly, the narrative technique utilized in Lovesick is tiresome. Lovesick is narrated by Jason and while it seems like that might be going somewhere, it seems tough to believe that Charlie would confess so very much to Jason. The narration by Jason seems to be an excuse for filler more than an organic or creative way to tell the story.

Matt LeBlanc does fine as Charlie Darby, but it is hardly a stretch for his talents and prior repertoire. Ali Larter does great as Molly; this is a charming, generally fun role for a woman who usually plays hardasses. In fact, I can’t think of a role in which Larter smiles as much as she does over the course of the one hundred minutes of Lovesick. With brief supporting roles from Chevy Chase, Kristen Johnson, Rachael Harris and Richard Riehl, Lovesick feels like it has the performance power to make for a decent mainstream film release.

Unfortunately, Lovesick just doesn’t have the script for it. The idea is executed ridiculously quickly and LeBlanc plays the paranoia far more efficiently than he plays the affection that Charlie has for Molly. The result is a lot less pleasant than the set-up implies.

For other works with Ali Larter, please check out my reviews of:
A Lot Like Love
Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
Legally Blonde


For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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