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Just A Kiss (2002)
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Review Date: August 24, 2002
Director: Fisher Stevens
Writer: Patrick Breen
Producers: Matthew H. Rowland
Actors:
Ron Eldard as Dag
Kyra Sedgewick as Halley
Marisa Tomei as Paula
Plot:
A man nails his best friend's girl, who in turn, calls up the respective betrayed parties and tells them all about it. Neither the best friend or girlfriend are particularly amused by this bit of news, and stumble into several other people, as they try to figure out what to do about this infidelity. Weird stuff ensues.
Critique:
What starts off as an easy-going, cutesy romantic comedy with a pretty cool premise, suddenly switches gears at about the half hour mark, drops all kinds of "fantasy" elements into the mix, ridiculous situations upon ridiculous situations and enough dark humor to make you forget what movie you walked into in the first place. The sad part is that I actually like black comedies, but this baby was just too uneven for me to get into, especially since it got me interested in its characters in the first place, only to turn them all into raving lunatics by the end, who do nothing more than sleep around with one another. What the hell were the filmmakers thinking? Did they start off believing in love and discussion and trust (the scene in which Shelton tells Sedgwick that she slept with her boyfriend is hilarious!), and then do some wicked 'shrooms or something? And what was with all of the "rotomation" animated stuff throughout the movie (if you've seen WAKING LIFE, it's the same thing here, only it comes and goes without much apparent meaning-at least none that I picked up on). What sucks even harder is that there were actually some actors and characters that I really liked in here, but how am I supposed to "get into" any of them when the film switches gears on me so fast, and turns a smaller character like Marisa Tomei (who is one of the goofier and more enjoyable characters in the film), into a central figure, without giving us any realistic portrayal of the woman, or any kind of valid background or motivation.

Then again, maybe the film was supposed to be so "over-the-top" that you weren't supposed to care about these people in the first place? Well, if that was the case, I guess I missed the boat since I actually got interested in them early on, before it all turned into a fantasy drug-camp filled with potential suicides, deaths galore and infidelities out the wazzoo (not for the conservative). Once it did switch over to the other side, it took me awhile to accept it as it was, and I suppose that I was able to enjoy some small dark, ironic laughs, but ultimately, it just didn't mean much to me and played too skewed to ever get a hold on (or be entertained by). I really liked Tomei and Diggs' performances though, and only wished that the filmmakers had stuck to the movie's original premise and quirky romance angle, instead of getting all "weird" and ultimately destroying any "real" relationship that seemed to be coming together. I also liked Eldard's performance, and Mary Shelton was damn cute to look at, but what was up with her character? At first, she just seemed "dumb", but by the end of the film, it was almost like she was actually "retarded". Funny? I think not. I did like the twist at the end though, which once again, made me wish that they'd remained on solid ground throughout. One thing that is for sure about this picture is that it is not for your average moviegoer, or at least none who aren't high or willing to sit through a flick which ultimately doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it about anything? I don't know, but apparently everyone likes to fuck around on everybody else...even if they turn into a cartoon every now and again. Huh?? Exactly!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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