Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does Don Fall Flat, or Score Big Returns?

Does Don Fall Flat, or Score Big Returns? - 26 (Seoul)
Date: 2010-02-18, 1:22AM KT

What can a man badly in need of a date say to convince a prospective girlfriend? How can he win her over? That’s the premise of this post, aptly titled “Does Don Fall Flat, or Score Big Returns?”

Hi, I’m Don Fall, nationally syndicated film critic appearing in over two-hundred newspaper and entertainment columns. I’m looking for a date. I’m sick of these formulaic, pedestrian dates that place style over substance and big budgets over heart. I’m not looking for action and gratuitous sex to appeal to some kind of base, lowest-common-denominator adolescent demographic. I’m tired of hackneyed sequels and reboots of old girlfriends. I’m looking for a real smartly-crafted date, one with a tight focus on character development and pacing, such as one of the many excellent foreign dates to have come out in the last several years.

I’ve been on several bad dates before. Take 2002’s putrid Date With Elissa, Roma Italiano Ristorante. The lead Elissa never seemed comfortable in her role, and as a result her performance came off as wooden and flat. Clearly, she was hired for her looks and not her ability, evidenced by several squirm-inducing scenes in which she was asked questions concerning current events. Accordingly, male lead Don seemed burden with carrying the date, though his glaring frustration with the role ensured neither character was portrayed very sympathetically. The garish, baroque set-pieces couldn’t make up for what was, in essence, weak dialogue and atrocious lighting. The sole highlight of the date occurred during the awkward, unsatisfying goodnight hug, leading many to speculate as to the date’s existentialist leanings (this reviewer not among them).

Then, there was 2006’s Date With Amy, The Cheesecake Factory. This date showed promise in the early scenes, but ultimately failed as the second and third act dragged on with no foreseeable climax. Initially, the principle players seemed to have created a good report that translated well into the typical genre date. However, once Amy was taken to Don’s apartment, after a lengthy and wholly unnecessary scene at a bar, the date began to unravel. Insider gossip informs me that this was perhaps only Amy’s second date ever, which would explain the amateurish quality of her performance in the third act. While the sophomore effort was noteworthy for its earnestness, the talent was clearly lacking from the beginning. Coupled with the lead’s inability to properly find the right angles, this date could be described as an underwhelming effort, especially considering the amount of hype it received in the weeks before opening.

Of course, they haven’t all been bad. Take 2005’s indie erotic thriller Date with Bridgette, Lilliput Mini-Golf. This low budget exploitation date, while decried for its graphic depiction of female sexuality, reminded us of why we constantly revisit the genre despite its objectionable content. In spite of its shoe-string budget and predictable ending, Date With Bridgette proved to be the sleeper hit of 2005. If there was one drawback to this otherwise gritty and unabashedly graphic date, it was the length – at only seventy minutes long, it left audiences wanting for more, and the producer has so far been tight-lipped about fans’ requests for a sequel.

So, if you can deliver ninety minutes of clever dialogue, original content, and nuanced performances, definitely get in touch. With me, you can “Fall” in love with dating once again!

* Location: Seoul
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

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