Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rocky Powell & Juddy Talt's teeth-on-edge rom-com, LANGUAGE OF A BROKEN HEART

Ah, another love story. And if you follow TrustMovies, you'll know he has a soft spot (yes, perhaps in his head) for the rom-com genre. Don't a lot of us? And then comes along something like LANGUAGE OF A BROKEN HEART, the new and infinitely grating romantic comedy which, according to its press release, tells us that it's not how you love but who you love. Oh, really? I know a few people who would dismiss that conclusion out of hand. And what we are talking about here, anyway? Lust? Limerance? Caring? Sharing? Or the whole shebang? And shouldn't one strive for autonomy first? It doesn't much matter because this silly little film is dumb from the get-go, and only grows more so as it goes along.

I don't think the blame rests much on the shoulders of the director/co-producer, Rocky Powell, (shown at left) for he stages this little charade with decent profes-sionalism, draw-ing bearable performances from (most of) his cast and moving things along as spee-dily as possible. Rather, it's the writer/star/co-producer of the film, Juddy Talt -- I initially imagined that first name was a typo, but perhaps it is simply the diminutive form of Judd? -- shown on poster, top, and below, left, to whom most of the credit/blame must be assigned.

First off, Mr. Talt has himself playing Nick, a hugely successful mainstream writer on the subject of love -- who hasn't, it turns out, a clue to what love is or how to manage it. Huh? It is almost impos-sible to believe in Nick's character for a moment. Not that Talt isn't good-looking and sexy (he's a tall and rangy, and we haven't had a Gary Cooper-type leading man in quite awhile). But the actor-cum-writer turns Nick into such a charmless, male twat, regarding just about everything and everyone with whom he comes into contact, that garnering audience sympathy hasn't a ghost of a chance.

Nick has a girlfriend, of course, who treats him like dirt, but then, near the halfway point, on an airplane, our hero falls into the purview of our heroine, a seemingly ditzy young woman in glasses and heavy-duty hair (Kate Frenchabove) who goes head-over-heels for the guy. Most of the dialog -- beginning with Nick's introducing himself to us, followed by a truly dreadful scene between him and a therapist -- is crummy, bordering on the inane; it's not funny, charming, smart or worth hearing. Around this time we 're thinking, What alternate universe have they dredged up to provide the people and conversation here?

Then Nick goes "home" to mother (played by Julie White, above: contrast her performance in this film with her work in the so-much-better, rom-com-character-study Hello I Must Be Going), who seems to exist solely so she can accidentally appear topless in front of her son. Later we're given the movie's maybe two good lines that come from Nick's best buddy Cubby (a pleasant but sad Ethan Cohn, below) regarding what men and women expect from each other when they marry.  I won't ruin the nice surprise by repeating them here. You deserve something good if you tackle this movie.

The music is sweet, ditsy and predictable, rather like the movie itself (right down to the pool hall scene, shown at bottom). Talt chops up his work into sections divided by line drawings that are simple and rather pointless, given that Nick is supposed to be a wordsmith, not an artist. Oh, well, it's something more with which to fill the screen, I guess, but it only helps push the running time to an overlong 98 minutes.

As the women in Nick's life, Ms French (above, left) proves likable as the sweet-and-ditsy good girl and Lara Pulver (below) dislikable as the bitchy bad one. Neither are given anything remotely resembling a character. Consequently, when the bomb drops toward the finale (which, of course, it must in these rom-coms), it seems so out of left field and unbelievable that I suspect even hard-core romantics will hiss at the screen.

Along the way, amongst all the other nonsense, our Nick is given this little gem:  "You know how to love, but you don't know how to hate. And hate is healthy." OK, Language of a Broken Heart, you win. I hate this movie. But, hey, I'm healthy!

The film opens in New York City this Friday, March 8, at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14. The following Friday, it makes its Los Angeles debut at Laemmle's Playhouse 7, and then hits Texas (where some of it was filmed, I believe), the week after that. You can check all currently scheduled dates, cities and theaters by clicking here.

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