Anthony Nield has reviewed Momentum’s region 2 release of I’m With Lucy, a high concept but ultimately wafer-thin romantic comedy than looks merely adequate on disc and offers only the slightest of special features.
Completed in 2002 and only now receiving a belated straight-to-DVD release to coincide with Valentine’s Day, I’m With Lucy is, as with Martha – Meet Daniel, Frank and Lawrence, another of Monica Potter’s high concept romantic comedies. In this case it’s a rom-com variation on Clue (or, for horror fans, The Beast Must Die): we meet Lucy, we meet five dates, we discover she’s about to marry one of them and we must work out whom whilst we’re treated to an hour’s worth of flashbacks.
It’s a reasonably cute idea, but as Potter herself proves, cutesiness only goes so far. Rather than expand on or – heaven forbid! – even subvert the concept, the filmmakers settle into a predictable post-Bridget Jones rut and wheel out stereotype after stereotype. As such, at least three of the dates can be summed up in at least three words or less: Gael Garcia Bernal is all Latin sensuality; John Hannah the uptight Brit; and Anthony LaPaglia macho brashness. The problem this creates (besides some hideous over-acting from LaPaglia on a par with his Frasier guest appearances) is that almost immediately the audience can tick off three suspects, so to speak, leaving only Henry Thomas and David Boreanaz, both of whom have been granted with a modicum of extra character development. This loss of tension wouldn’t be so dramatic, however, had their various dates actually been engaging or moderately amusing, but instead they go through the rom-com clichés of slapstick drunkenness, clash of characters and comedy of embarrassment, none of which are successfully pulled off.
Much of the blame must be shouldered with the screenplay – often coming across as too smug at its own “cleverness” – but Potter herself is also responsible. As with Martha – Meet Daniel, Frank and Lawrence and High Heels (which cemented her status as the female Freddie Prinze Jr.) her performance adds up to little more than an attempt to follow in the footsteps of Julia Roberts. Moreover, she does so when surrounded by host of more talented performers (all five of the dates have proven themselves elsewhere, and bizarrely even Julie Christie pops up for a couple of scenes) which only serves to illustrate her vapidity. It’s the kind of performance that may work well in a sitcom guest spot (though, oddly, Potter has never done so), but proves too flimsy too maintain an entire feature.
Also stretched out a little too thin is the central concept. For the most part it simply feels as though this is a distinctly ordinary romantic comedy that has been padded out with the other four superfluous dates. Indeed, each individual episode never informs or interplays with any of the others, meaning that the film never really adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Moreover, it’s also unavoidably obvious as to which date is going to be eventually picked as the filmmakers have scored its every moment with the most saccharine of string arrangements.
For a such a new release, I’m With Lucy looks only adequate on disc. The film is given an anamorphic transfer at a ratio of 1.78:1, but the decision to release it on a single-layer disc has resulting in a visible amount of compression artefacting. The picture, therefore, comes across as a little drab, at odds with its sprightly rom-com nature. The soundtrack fares better with a crisp DD5.1 mix. It proves more than adequate for the dialogue and attendant MOR soundtrack, and provides no discernible difficulties.
As for extras these are limited to the theatrical trailer and 25 minutes worth of cast and crew interviews. Sadly these are of the EPK variety and as such offer little in the way of interest or insight. After all, who cares about Monica Potter’s thoughts on the dating process? And just what is their relevance to the main picture?
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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