Quick Hit Movie Reviews #3: 'The Food Guide to Love' (2013) And 'Some Girl(s)' (2013)

"The Food Guide to Love" (2013)  

Quality romantic comedies are hard to come by these days, an extinct breed of filmmaking that has been disparaged to the point that few are even produced. Once the crรจme de la crรจme of 90’s cinema; the low budget charm of a genre that actually focuses on relationships devoid of crude shenanigans and characters worth caring about, has steadily diminished.

“The Food Guide to Love” provides hope that not all is lost in the arena of adult comedy. Richard Coyle stars as Oliver, a food critic, and lothario who has merged his two great passions together. Using food as a metaphor for love and relationships, he has found success as an author. His world of playboy frivolity is halted when he meets the free-spirited Bibiana (Leonor Watling).

The romance works because both characters are fleshed out individually with a sharply authored wit and sincerity. The outstanding Leonor Watling (“Sound of the Sea”) shines as she has in many of her other works, as the film’s heart of gold lead. Watling is a vastly undervalued actress and she seizes all her role has to offer.

She and Richard Coyle also share a fanciful chemistry that works to enchant. Meanwhile, Coyle who starred in 2012’s “Pusher” remake, gets a chance to show off his lighter side by demonstrating a vast comedic aptitude.

The story’s originality isn’t groundbreaking though it keeps viewers on their toes by keeping a manner of speculative uncertainty as to whether the charming duo’s relationship will actually last. This isn’t a by-the-numbers romance that feels safe and inevitable.

The third act, unfortunately, loses some of its novelty with an interlude that was presented almost verbatim in a certain 2009 rom-com starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. On all other fronts, it is a delectable journey that feasts on a nice blend of humor, romance, and drama.  

Rating: 7.3/10

[Image by Leeden Media]

"Some Girl(s)" (2013) 

 Despite seeing quite a few bad movies nothing can quite prepare one for the banal tediousness that is this schlocky ride down a womanizer’s (Adam Brody, “Welcome to the Jungle”) seedy past, as he tries to find closure with his bevy of exes. What sounds like an intriguing plotline falters into bits of awkwardly forced comedy and out of the blue drama, courtesy of a disturbing third-act revelation.

The lead character is one of the most despicable in recent film canon, insufferably making his way from one woman to another. Brody properly sells the smarmy self-satisfaction of a pontificating, pseudo-intellectual whose main agenda seems rather blatant. Otherwise, his performance falls short, lacking the charm necessary to believe that this character could woo so many women his victim.

The women he encounters and attempts to reconcile with, are all portrayed as too intelligent to actually believe they would’ve been seduced by the heartless cad, in the first place. If the attempt of the film is to convince one that they have grown smarter after dealing with him that would be a fair appraisal.

The vignettes of banter between Brody’s unnamed sleezy tool and his ex-lovers drags, measuring out to a relative 15 minutes each, it feels like it lasts hours. It is especially painful because there seems to be no narrative urgency to move the confrontations along, enduring like a bad head cold. Kristen Bell (“Frozen”) and Zoe Kazan (“Ruby Sparks”) prove to be the performance highlights.

Taking their best shot at selling the roles of women scorned and smarter, the film seems desperate to convey. The worst part is that the hope building for Brody’s character to get his comeuppance fizzles out as it grows apparent that is not the movie’s point. Anticipating an actual point or message for “Some Girl(s)” is as fruitless an expectation as the main character demonstrating genuine remorse.  

Rating: 1/10