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I LOVE YOU TOO

SYNOPSIS:
Jim (Brendan Cowell) is an emotionally stunted 30-something guy unable to say the words his girlfriend Alice (Yvonne Strahovski) wants to hear. His best friend Blake (Peter Helliar) however, is more interested in heading back to the bar looking for another one-night stand. When Alice gets fed up with Jim's inability to commit, she calls the whole thing off, making plans to return to her home town - London. Meanwhile, a distraught Jim strikes up a relationship with Charlie (Peter Dinklage), a sensitive, articulate dwarf, who allows him to understand the importance of words and expressing himself.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Peter Dinklage saves this romantic comedy from being a bit of a bore, despite some fine performances and a few well written and executed scenes. Brendan Cowell is endearing as Jim, the frustrating and frustrated 33 year old who is emotionally stunted and Yvonne Strahovsky is lovely as Alice who almost doesn't live here anymore, in need of Jim's commitment. Dinklage plays the surprise element; he's the catalyst for Jim, and a well considered character who comes left of field to effectively turbo charge the dynamics of the story.

Peter Helliar's Blake is a rather irritating buddy and his relationship with Jim as the best friend simply doesn't ring true. So many rom coms have similarly idiotic, vulgar and aggravating characters as the hero's buddy - which is really depressing. And Helliar has no-one else to blame since he wrote the screenplay.

The first two acts feel laboured and formulaic - albeit the formula seems to have been shaken up on the way to the set - so it's in the last third that we are engaged but this is a tad too late. This is where some of the more serious elements of the story are introduced to ground the themes.

There are a handful of endearing scenes and we do want to like the film, but a hard nosed script editor might have stripped out some of the waffly elements to replace them with the kind of drama and pace that a comedy like this needs.

Review by Louise Keller:
Troublesome relationships are at the heart of this Aussie rom com in which commitment and moving on in life are the key elements. It's light-hearted and well meaning with a few nice moments, but the script needs more work; the characters are not properly grounded and as a result, their situations are less than believable. The script and storyline is by talented comedian Peter Helliar, who also plays Brendan Cowell's best mate and who is known mostly for his TV skits. The movie feels a bit like a sit-com in which everything is superficial and played for laughs which is perhaps why I did not connect to the characters' plight. My heart did break however, for Peter Dinklage's self-deprecating dwarf Charlie, who does seem like a real character lost in a world of make-believe.

In the film's opening scenes, we quickly get a sense of the routine for best pals Jim (Brendan Cowell) and Blake (Helliar). They hit the bars to 'tip a few in' and 'bust a couple of beers' as they try to be smooth charmers like George Clooney. That's when Jim meets Alice (Yvonne Strahovski), the pretty blonde English girl who smiles in her sleep; but three years later, their relationship has gone round and round, just like the miniature train Jim drives for a living. While theirs is the central relationship (albeit without chemistry), there is also the awkward, buddy friendship between Jim and Blake and an unsatisfying, problematic relationship between Jim's pregnant sister Marie (Bridie Carter) and her beer-swilling husband Owen (Travis McMahon).

It is when Alice breaks up with Jim that the most interesting and unlikely relationship begins: between Jim and Charlie (Dinklage). We can understand the circumstances of their meeting (Jim steals Charlie's car), but what happens next (including their pretending to be gay) is played simply for laughs. Unbelievable as it may be, the most poignant part of the film is the side plot between lovelorn Charlie and his superstar dream-girl Francesca (the stunningly beautiful Megan Gale). In order to neatly tidy up these plot points, the resolution is neat, albeit less than original.

The performances are all fine and TV director Daina Reid injects good energy, albeit the material floats along on the surface. Ellery Ryan's cinematography looks great, as does the city of Melbourne, and I love that hotel bar with no patrons or barman where gorgeous Megan Gale hangs out. As a date movie for an undemanding audience or a night out for the girls, there is an audience - but it never reaches its potential.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2


I LOVE YOU TOO (M)
(Aust, 2009)

CAST: Brendan Cowell, Peter Dinklage, Yvonne Strahovski, Megan Gale, Peter Helliar, Bridie Carter, Steve Bisley, Hamish Blake, Travis McMahon

PRODUCER: Yael Bergman, Laura Waters

DIRECTOR: Daina Reid

SCRIPT: Peter Helliar

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ellery Ryan

MUSIC: David Hirschfelder

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jennifer A. Davis

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 6, 2010







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