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Love Potion No. 9

video review out of 4 Movie Review: Love Potion No. 9

Starring: Tate Donovan, Sandra Bullock
Director: Dale Launer
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: November 1992
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Mary Mara, Dale Midkiff, Hillary Bailey Smith, Dylan Baker, Anne Bancroft

Review by Dragan Antulov
½ star out of 4

Modern science, contrary to the thousands years of idealistic philosophy, romantic poetry and fiction, claims that the love is nothing more than consequence of certain biochemical processes in human body. Interestingly enough, this rather un-romantic notion was the premise for romantic comedy. The name of that comedy was LOVE POTION NO. 9, and it was written and directed by Dale Launer in 1991.

The protagonist of this film is Paul Matthews (played by Tate Donovan), nerdy scientist who works in biochemical lab together with his equally nerdy female partner Diane Farrow (played by Sandra Bullock). Matthews doesn't have much luck in his dealings with opposite sex, so the friends tell him to visit Madame Ruth (played by Anne Croft), old Gypsy fortune-teller specialised for helping people with romantic problems. Madame Ruth is ready to improve young scientist's by offering him "Love Potion No. 8", elixir with powerful aphrodisiac qualities. Matthews takes it, despite warnings about some interesting side effects, but real problems arise when the potion gets in the hand of his partner. Both of their lives will be turned upside down until they realise that they are made for each other.

Ancient pop songs seem like a rather strange inspiration for the films, and it isn't hard to imagine such films being equally unimpressive as those inspired by video games. LOVE POTION NO. 9, based on the "golden oldie" performed by The Clovers, justifies that skepticism. Dale Launer's humour is not very effective, even bellow the standards of 1980s teen comedies, and the actors don't seem to put much effort in their work. There is perhaps one good scene in the entire film, but the most interesting thing about it is seeing what popular actresses like Sandra Bullock had to do before reaching Hollywood Olympus. However, even the Bullock fans would do themselves a favour if they skip this one and rent FIRE OVER AMAZON instead.

Copyright 2000 Dragan Antulov

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