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Head Over Heels

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Head Over Heels

Starring: Monica Potter, Freddie Prinze Jr.
Director: Mark Waters
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: February 2001
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Tomiko Fraser, Brendan Beiser, China Chow, Raoul Ganeev, Ivana Milicevic, Sarah O'Hare

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

HEAD OVER HEELS, a romantic comedy twist on REAR WINDOW, stars Monica Potter as amateur sleuth Amanda Pierce and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Jim Winston, a fashion exec who may or may not have murdered a woman in his apartment. Amanda, a Renaissance painting restorer by trade, thinks she saw the murder through the window of her Manhattan apartment. If you can't figure out whether Jim is actually a murderer, consider your inability as prima facie evidence that you need a break, since you are clearly below your minimum movie quota.

"There are four million men in New York," Amanda complains soon after we meet her. "Why can't I find just one. Just one!" Well, when she lays eyes on the poster-boy-handsome Jim, it is love at first sight, at least for her. They meet inauspiciously when the monster-sized dog he is walking knocks her down and starts trying to hump her. Like much of the movie, it sounds funnier that it is.

Soon, Amanda goes from being weak-kneed over her art to swooning at the sight of a flesh-and-blood man. Breaking off their conversation on the street, she tells Jim, "I've got the runs. I mean I've got to run." The script by Ron Burch and David Kidd sporadically comes up with such cute dialog, but, too often, it falls back on the old clichés of everyone literally falling head over heels. Falling as a laughter-inducing stunt gets old after about the second fall. Okay, maybe the third. Given that director Mark S. Waters's first and only other film is the wonderfully edgy, black comedy, THE HOUSE OF YES, also featuring Prinze, one might reasonably assume that HEAD OVER HEELS would take risks. Instead, it plays it as safe as a TV movie remake of a Doris Day comedy.

Amanda rents a closet in an apartment owned by four models, Jade (Shalom Harlow), Roxana (Ivana Milicevic), Candi (Sarah O'Hare) and Holly (Tomiko Fraser), whose weights and IQs hover around 100. Amanda's room is literally a closet, since they have turned the closet's bedroom into a storage area large enough to hold their bulging wardrobe. Every night outside the models' door, a horde of hunks assembles, wanting to be the models' salivating slaves for the evening. The models treat the men like dirt while squandering their money.

The movie never gets the proper comedic payoff from the models because it never ratchets up the sleaze factor enough. Still, some easy jabs at their desire to destroy their bodies for the sake of their profession do come across as funny. One model, for example, is in the process of having her earlobes fixed so that they will be perfectly symmetric.

As Amanda tries to find out if Jim is a dreamboat or a killer, she falls hopelessly in love with him. The movie's fatal flaw is that theirs is a one-way romance. We believe that Amanda loves Jim. We never believe that the feeling is genuinely reciprocated, and their chemistry together has as many sparks as a California blackout. A romantic comedy requires not only laugher, but love. And love has to be a two-way street.

HEAD OVER HEELS runs 1:31. It is rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor and language and would be acceptable for kids around 11 or 12 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 11, gave the movie ** 1/2. Although he thought the movie was funny in parts, especially those involving the models, he thought the plot was flat and needed improvement.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes

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