Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Love that Boy (Movie Review)

What a charming story from Andrea Dorfman — a Canadian writer/director who hasn't quite taken the world by storm... yet.

Love that Boy (2003) is the sort of film you don't really see coming: it starts off a bit strange, essentially requiring the audience develop an immediate disdain for the film's main character (Phoebe).

She's pretentious. She's controlling. And she's plotted out her final year of college into a color-coded planner that's so full of appointments and lessons that she's quite literally a slave to it.

And here — right here — is when I started to like Phoebe. Watching Phoebe add things like "forage for edible wilds" and "kayaking certification" to her "TO DO BEFORE GRADUATION" list was as charming as it was embarrassing. As many of you know, I keep similar lists... and I'm always crestfallen to see them grow exponentially faster than items are crossed off.

[You'll hear more about this personal neurosis another time, I'm sure.]

Phoebe draws her raison d'etre from this list, leaving her wholly unable to relate other people. As for those who happen to find themselves within Phoebe's gravitational pull... well, let's just say she does everything to keep it that way.

But this all changes when Phoebe endeavors to add "find a boyfriend" to her list. She becomes an increasingly likeable character — charming, even. And what ensues isn't nearly as corny as it may sound. I even hesitate to term this a "romantic comedy," as it's far too quirky for that nomenclature, and all the pulp it implies (not to mention, I'm uncomfortable positioning eros at the center of the plot, for reasons you'll understand if you watch it). Rather, Love that Boy reminded me a bit of Harold and Maude — though, for the record, it lacked the degree of novelty and wit that has forever earned Harold and Maude a spot on my "favorites" list.

Even still, I enjoyed Love that Boy enough that I'll be queuing up more from Dorfman's repertoire. If you like quirky movies that cause you to almost root for the most unlikely of scenarios — scenarios that are morally and socially suspect but nevertheless good-intentioned — I suggest you do the same.


No comments: