|fish without a bicycle
|Written by Jenna Mattison
|Directed by Brian A. Green
Again, this is one of those films that other people seem to like
that I got absolutely nothing out of. This was a bit of a festival
favourite for a few months, but to me it didn't seem to have anything
really interesting to say. It certainly has nothing new to say.
I watched it purely because it was the only thing on TV and for
the curiosity factor of it having been directed by Beverly
Hills 90210 alumni Brian Austin Green (credited here
as Brian A. Green). Unfortunately, Green is an amateur director
at best, and makes a meal of an already underpolished script.
Julianna (Jules) is a struggling actor, but more, she's a struggling
human being. For some reason she's hung up on the idea of falling
in love. Worse, she's in love with love, and searches in vain
for the biggest losers for whom to pledge her undying affection.
Along for the ride is Jules' cynical, goth, best friend Vicki,
who has a painfully obvious crush on her. Whatever Jules does,
Vicki is there with a healing shot of tequila or a place to crash,
but she tries to be as honest with Jules as she can. Unfortunately,
the one thing she wishes she could say, that she's desperately
in love with Jules, is the one thing she can't seem to push past
her lips. Instead she watches Jules go from one jerk to another
while she attempts to find herself.
Jules stars in a play, directed by loser number three, Michael.
Co-starring in the play with her is a wonderfully nice guy, Ben
(played by Brian Green), who must be overlooked simply because
he is too nice. Of course, he's the man Jules has really been
looking for, but by the time she figures it out she's also figured
out that she doesn't actually need a man to complete her life.
After going from one man to another looking for her life, she
decides, finally, to make a break and go off on her own to find
out what she really wants to be. Hence the title, lifted from
the old feminist catchcry "a woman without a man is like
a fish without a bicycle".
The only bright light in this miserable, annoyingly trite comedy
is Jennifer Blanc as Vicki. She has a nice mix of sarcasm and
humour that helps keep the film from sinking to the level of being
unwatchable. Her crush on Jules is poignant enough to pull at
our heart strings just a little, and her final confession is touching.
Before letting Jules run off into the night and ignore her confession,
she leans in and gets a taste of what she's been longing for -
a kiss from the woman of her dreams. The moment lingers, and in
the silence is some half-decent acting.
Jules does eventually reject Vicki's advances, but when Vicki
yells out "you have to at least acknowledge what I'm telling
you!" I found myself really feeling for her, which was something
I failed to do for any of the other characters. I didn't care
at all what happened to Jules. I didn't care who she slept with,
I didn't care about her loser boyfriends, I didn't care about
what she wanted to do with her life, and I was kind of glad when
the film ended.
The entire film is marred by some really bad writing, and equally
uninspired direction. Just your basic one-two shots here, so much
so that it may as well be a one-camera TV show. I'm not quite
sure what it was about this particular script that made them spend
money on picking up cameras and shooting. It sounds like a first
draft of something that could have one day gone on to be a decent
TV movie, with a couple more rewrites.
An example of the bad writing is the homeless woman who suddenly
appears at the end of the film to tell Jules she needs to wait
for a sign. I think she's supposed to be a bit like that guy at
the end of Pretty Woman who wanders across the
screen mumbling "everybody got to have a dream!" Only,
I wasn't at all inspired. In fact, I kept thinking, you need a
sign to realise what's blatantly in front of your nose? How dumb
are you!? It almost inspired me to yell at the screen, but really,
I didn't care that much. Instead I stared blankly at the train
wreck unfolding before my eyes, wondering how any self-respecting
film critic ever found something to priase in the film. I can
get past poor production values quite easily if the script is
smart, or funny. This one wasn't even quirky... just kind of bland.
I don't usually go after actors and their appearances, but what
is with Jenna Mattison's lips? When she's onscreen, she has this
Julia Roberts-type smile; but instead of being warm, it feels
like more like we're watching Jack Nicholson as The Joker, with
this huge smile that refuses, oddly, to budge at all. Her face
was kind of scary.
All in all, a pretty forgettable film experience, but not the
worse thing I've seen. It suffers from the worst cinematic sin
of all; being boring and mediocre. It's difficult to write about
nothing films like this. There's nothing to point out, nothing
to really complain about, just a big ball of nothing. Don't bother
watching it unless you are really, really bored and have
quite literally nothing else to do. But really, there's always
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