Judge David Gutierrez says what's not to love about two kids from different worlds finding true happiness and romance.
"Hi. I'm looking for two teenage girls."
Despite its not-so-typical subject matter, The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love is actually a by-the-numbers coming-of-age romantic comedy, only good.
Facts of the Case
Randi Dean (Laurel Holloman Boogie Nights) has it tough. She works at a gas station, lives with her aunt and both her aunt's current and ex-girlfriend, and attends high school. She's the girl that everyone's pretty sure is gay but never confirms it. Evie Roy (Nicole Ari Parker Blue Streak) lives in a nice home, wears nice clothing, and enjoys all the privileges and perks of being one of the in-crowd. Having nothing in common, Evie and Randi naturally fall in love.
It's not an easy courtship. Randi has a purely sexual relationship with an older, married woman. Evie is in an unhappy relationship with her preppy boyfriend. It's not until Evie needs Randi's help to fix her car that affection begins to blossom. Evie first has to figure out what it means to be with a woman, come clean to her friends about her sexuality, and see if her mother will accept her. Randi has to adjust to the fact that this just might work out for her and accept that she's good enough to be with a girl from a centered world of order.
Of course, chaos ensues. The girls never have an easy go of it and either met with derision or the everyday obstacles teenagers face. What's important, though, is that the girls do everything for one another and are strongest when together.
Being a teenager's tough. I was the fat kid through most of my teenage years, and boy, did it suck. But at least I could do something about that. Shed the pounds and the kidding would stop. I can't imagine what it would be like to be an "outed but still in" kid in high school. Randi manages to survive it all. She's a terrific character. Not to say that she's invulnerable, but Randi is a survivor. Watching this movie, I could see why Evie would choose Randi. Inversely, I could see why Randi would choose Evie. The woman's got it all. What really works for this movie is the believability of the characters. For the most part, the film falls into all the trappings of a teenage comedy: problems with family, trouble blending in at school, putting up a false front, falling for the person on the other side of the tracks, nobody understands, odd best friend, ad nauseum. Yet unlike so many of these films, in which the characters are only attracted to each other physically, a real connection exists between Evie and Randi and I found myself rooting for them. I don't know how this would play for someone more conservative than me, but I think if they gave the movie a chance, they'd be fans of Evie and Randi, too.
Some of the dialogue falls flat with some forced jokes, but overall the writing is clever enough to propel the movie. As it turns out, the story is loosely based on the writer/director Maria Maggenti's life (Without a Trace). Since this is essentially her story, it's evident that this film is truly a labor of love.
I recommend watching with the commentary, especially if you're interested in how to make a film on a low, low budget. Maggenti's knack for cutting corners when necessary and her production anecdotes gave me a greater appreciation for the film. Many romantic comedies produced in the '90s have the tendency to have scene upon scene of coffee table discussions and talking heads. Maggenti at least provides an excuse for having a nearly motionless motion picture. Her candor and ability to admit where things went wrong is a welcome change from most self-serving and sycophantic commentaries. I also liked that she went into great detail on the construction of scenes and reasons behind their execution.
The picture and sound were crisp. I didn't notice any problems with them. I think New Line treated this one well.
In addition to the director's commentary, the DVD's special features include the original theatrical trailer and trailers for other New Line releases.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
I hated the animated menus. They're garish and cartoony. If I wanted Bugs Bunny, I'd have watched that instead. They gave the movie a lighter air than it deserves. By no means is this an oppressive German experimental film, but it deserves something less Kindergarten looking.
I liked this movie. I didn't really know what to expect. Everything gelled, especially the performances by the two lead actresses. It's a good love story.
The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love is free to go adventuring somewhere. Nice job, ladies.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
• Director's commentary
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