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Love and Sex

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Love and Sex

Starring: Famke Janssen, Jon Favreau
Director: Valerie Breiman
Rated: R
RunTime: 82 Minutes
Release Date: August 2000
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Noah Emmerich, Ann Magnuson, Cheri Oteri, Josh Hopkins

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Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

"Love is a minefield," Kate (Famke Janssen, Dr. Jean Gray in X-MEN) tells us in the introduction to LOVE & SEX. "You take a step and are blown to pieces."

This philosophical film by writer/director Valerie Breiman would have been more aptly titled REFLECTIONS ON RELATIONSHIPS, but, of course, the current title is a more marketable one. Love and sex there is, but the characters spend more time discussing the twin subjects than engaging in them. And when it comes to sex, Janssen would appear to have a no-nudity clause in her contract, since she stays partially clothed in situations which would much more naturally be engaged in without underwear.

Although most of the staging never quite rings true, the movie does commendably place both of the leads in real jobs that they actually go to. Most cinematic characters appear to live off of some off-screen sugar daddy, permitting them to live without the toils of work.

Kate is a cubicle dweller at the headquarters of a women's magazine named "Monique." Kate's only honest piece of writing -- about oral sex as a cure for depression -- is rejected by the magazine's eponymous owner, played without emotion by Ann Magnuson.

"They say 'you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get a prince,'" Kate tells us before finding hers, an avant-garde painter named Adam (Jon Favreau, the crazy cop in THE REPLACEMENTS) who likes to paint things like a woman with a severed head coming out of her rear. As her fourteenth man and his fourth woman -- these numbers are featured prominently in the storyline -- Adam and Kate form an instant relationship based on caustic wit. He, for example, likes to call her by her school nickname of "horse face" and takes great delight in ridiculing her big feet.

"Hey, I believe in relationships. Mine are just short ones," Kate explains to Adam after he finds out that he's number 14 on her relationship dance card. "You're like a whore!" he tells her. They have the sort of strange chemistry whereby they both think that it's funny that he calls her a whore. They also enjoy sharing bedtime flatulence.

As they compete in the insults derby, in which he always wins, Adam and Kate become best friends. They love arguing. He tries to prove that men age better than women by asking, "Who's better looking: Sean Connery or Shelley Winters?"

The supporting cast of Kate's various other boyfriends includes Josh Hopkins as a Robert De Niro-obsessed porn star and Noah Emmerich as Eric, her number two. Like the rest of the reflective characters, Eric is full of dating suggestions. "Scheduled spontaneity is the key to long-term love," he says.

As witty as the script is, the direction is way off the mark. The cast almost uniformly suffers from a bad of case of low energy. Scenes seem designed more for cuteness than believability. And never is the chemistry between Adam and Kate genuine, which is the kiss of death for a romantic comedy.

Although the movie has some wonderfully acerbic moments and some insightful parts, it is basically forgettable fluff. You'll kind of enjoy it while you're there, but after you leave you'll wonder why you ever bothered.

LOVE & SEX runs just 1:22. It is rated R for language and sexual situations and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes

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