The Truth About Love
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir John Hay
scr Peter Bloore, William Johnston
with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dougray Scott, Jimi Mistry, Branka Katic, Kate Miles, Simon Webbe, Emma Noble, Karl Howman, Stefan Dennis, Goran Kostic, Andrew Hall, Tom Boyd
release US 25.Oct.05;
UK 16.Feb.07
05/UK Piccadilly 1h35

Lost that lovin feelin: Hewitt and Scott

hewitt scott mistry

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The Truth About Love We can feel these filmmakers straining to create a Working Title-style breezy British romantic comedy, complete with an American actress in the lead. But they've completely forgotten to inject any humour, wit or romance.

Alice (Hewitt) is a quirky nurse in Bristol, married to quirky lawyer Sam (Mistry). Both of them are unaware that Sam's best buddy Archie (Scott), also a lawyer, is madly in love with Alice. When in a moment of drunken stupidity Archie sends Alice an anonymous valentine, he sets in motion a series of coincidences that turn all three lives upside-down. And a few others are caught in the chaos as well.

Where to begin? Virtually nothing about this film works. The main problem is the script, which credits two writers, then two cowriters plus an "additional written material by". So why couldn't these five come up with a single moment of originality or genuine humour? The plot churns through its farcical structure, piling on convenient revelations (Sam is having an affair) and iffy elements (Archie is rebuilding a boat) that are pure movie contrivances.

Sure, there's a certain perverse pleasure in seeing these characters squirm out of the situations, but we're never in any doubt how it will turn out. Like the similar Imagine Me and You, the writers show a rather shocking disregard for marital vows. And the cast seem to realise they're in a bomb and just give up trying. They're cute and bouncy and watchable--but only because we know they're capable of much better work than this. Hewitt, in a terrible haircut, does well when she keeps the English accent low-key, although it occasionally wanders around the country. Mistry is energetic and smiley as usual; Scott struggles in a badly cast role.

And then there's the overwhelmingly cheesy tone--achingly vacuous dialog, ludicrous caper and courtroom subplots, lots of mild innuendo with no payoff, simplistic situations that kill a potentially intriguing premise. It even has a corny race-against-time finale that doesn't work because they never bother to establish the romance. And what the title's referring to is anyone's guess.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo 31.Jan.06

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2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall