Imagine Judge Katie Herrell's surprise that being loveless in Southern California is no different than anyone else in the world.
"Go ugly, early."
The DVD cover for Loveless in Los Angeles features a headless woman clad in a striated, shiny, two-piece workout outfit, with a bejeweled belly ring. This image gives the impression of an '80s workout video or soft porn, which falsely represents the stupid, yet oddly entertaining, romantic comedy that lies inside the case.
Facts of the Case
Goody two shoes Dave Randall (Dash Mihok) moves to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter. He fails, becoming a jaded reality dating television show producer/writer and a womanizer instead. That is until his secret college crush Kelly (Brittany Daniel) moves to town to pursue acting. She also finds the L.A. work scene daunting and agrees to appear on Dave's show to create some "tape." Unbeknownst to her (and Dave), Dave's power-hungry co-producer with benefits Gwen (Navi Rawat) slips her some drugs and Kelly's "tape" becomes X-rated. Meanwhile, Dave enlists Kelly's help to return to being a nice guy.
First we meet Dave, a self-proclaimed jerk. He's sleeplessly flopping in his bed as a helicopter hovers overheard perfectly shining a spotlight on a piece of jewelry on his nightstand.
But then cinematic suspension of reality occurs and everyone is reverted to 10 years ago. A deleted scene poses Dave as both the narrator and his character discussing this reversion in time and haltingly fighting with himself. He then, out-loud, decides to switch to a voiceover and ponders the cinematic effects of the two narration options. The actual movie goes with the voiceover technique, which I think is a better convention for this film than a stop-the-scene-and-explain sort of narration (because really, it's not that deep). The pondering deleted scene is an interesting insight into the decisions of filmmakers, but it was rightly cut as it incongruously turns the movie away from its, presumed, fictional storyline.
Anyway, ten years ago Dave was a nerdy college sophomore. He fell hard for a perky blonde named Kelly who shamelessly flirted with him and accepted gifts from him while all along having a seriously boyfriend whom she agreed to marry during their senior year.
Herein lies the seed for Dave's subsequent tailspin into jerkdom. Kelly played him by reveling in his affection but never seriously caring for him. When Dave further experiences rejection in L.A. from social climbing women and those who "read" his script, he kind of loses it. He studies the dating scene and comes up with six categories of women including Rubbernecks (self explanatory) and Paperbacks (a.k.a. an open book).
Dave's classification of women is actually creative and likely more realistic than not. To conquer these women he devises a plan to open dialogue with a putdown or PD, figuring beautiful women are always being told their beautiful and by telling them something bad about themselves they'll become angry…but interested in arguing (thus, conversing) and then when Dave pulls out a suave reverse of his PD they agreed to have sex with him. It is textbook something.
These little glints of craziness and about faces are what actually keep the movie interesting. Sure, Dave, and Kelly, are not especially inspiring or original characters. And there's something sort of sad about watching a C (B-) movie about struggling actors in soulless L.A.; it is like how overweight actors are so often found in the role of the "Fat Friend." But this movie does, at times, offer thoughtful criticism of things that suck, such as: Getting dumped, Not succeeding, Selling out, Being shy, Jealousy, etc. Important life lessons. Of course it offers that criticism while also playing into them too. I can't really say how. That would give away all the good bits.
Some of the actors in this film are actually rather credentialed, at least way more so than the characters of Dave and Kelly. Navi Rawat (Gwen) made regular appearances on The O.C. and 24 and apparently was a regular on Numb3rs James Lesure (Clint—a coworker at the dating show) is a recognizable face from the show Las Vegas. I didn't recognize Dash or Brittany but in looking at their filmography online, they've been around. Of all the low-budget films to make out there, I'm not sure why this one looked like a good resume builder.
And that's not to say the movie was bad. The scenery was fine enough. All the lighting was proper. The cameraman's hand was steady. None of the actors especially irritated me, except Navi Rawat (whom I've liked in the past). In this film, she is snappish and conniving and power hungry and has bangs. Bad bangs. Dash and Brittany have good on-screen chemistry and Dash does play a nice guy and a bad guy with equal aplomb. The music is clubby, but not pulsating. It blends in with the film appropriately.
But what I don't understand is why movies like this get made. What exactly do they have to offer to the realm of film, or even the actors themselves?
Once upon a time, I saw a movie called Pootie Tang. After watching Pootie Tang I thought it was possibly the worst movie I'd ever seen. Chris Rock, who? Then years later I come to hear other people talk about Pootie Tang. Apparently, it is kind of a cult classic…maybe? And Chris Rock, well, he's Chris Rock. So, sometimes a movie is so bad its good. And while Loveless in Los Angeles wasn't as frightening as Pootie Tang it fits into the film lexicon for a matter of measurement. Compared to Pootie Tang, Loveless in Los Angeles is pure genius. And compared to say, 50 percent of the rest of the movies out there it's not so good. Soo…
Sometimes it really is good to "Go ugly, early," because after the ugly everything seems better.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Allumination Filmworks
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