Two Comedies from Anchor Bay
Falling Up (April 28/10)
Falling Up follows nursing student Henry O'Shea (Joseph Cross) as he's forced to drop out of school and take on a job as a doorman after his father dies, with the film subsequently detailing Henry's ongoing exploits within the upper-class building and his eventual romance of a wealthy resident (Sarah Roemer's Scarlett Dowling). Director David M. Rosenthal has infused Falling Up with a gritty indie sensibility that often seems at odds with the almost pervasively conventional storyline, yet the less-than-fresh atmosphere is initially offset by the New York-centric visuals and uniformly compelling performances - with the latter exemplified by Cross' affable, incredibly charismatic turn as the earnest protagonist. The actor's unexpectedly strong portrayal, which is certainly in sharp contrast to his annoying work in Running with Scissors, is matched by an eclectic supporting cast that includes Joe Pantoliano, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Snoop Dogg, and it is, as a result, impossible not to become wrapped up in the central character's episodic, distinctly low-key exploits. It's only as Rosenthal and co-writer Joseph M. Smith place an increasingly prominent emphasis on elements of a decidedly hackneyed nature that one's interest begins to flag, as the scripters' reliance on such romcom staples as the fake break-up, the disapproving parent, and the race to reunite with a loved one ensures that Falling Up inevitably peters out in a rather substantial way. Still, this is a relatively minor complaint for a romantic comedy that is otherwise quite engaging and awfully likable - with the palpable chemistry between Cross and Roemer ultimately smoothing over the various bumps within the narrative.
Table for Three (April 28/10)
Table for Three casts Brandon Routh as Scott Teller, a recently-dumped young man who agrees to let a seemingly perfect couple (Sophia Bush's Mary and Jesse Bradford's Ryan) move into his apartment - with trouble ensuing as Mary and Ryan's myriad of problems eventually threaten Scott's blossoming relationship with the girl of his dreams (Jennifer Morrison's Leslie). There's little doubt that what starts out as an affable romcom eventually devolves into a mess of unreasonably over-the-top comedic set-pieces, as the increasingly pervasive emphasis on elements of a hopelessly broad nature ultimately cancels out the charismatic performances and promising setup. Filmmaker Michael Samonek's reliance on eye-rollingly stale conventions - ie before settling on Mary and Ryan, Scott meets with a steady stream of unreasonably inappropriate roommates - inevitably exacerbates the movie's progressively intolerable atmosphere, with the pervasive lack of laughs ensuring that even the most easy-going of viewers will eventually be forced to throw up their hands in frustration. It's also worth noting that the film seriously overstays its welcome, as Samonek offers up a frustratingly prolonged third act that just seems to go on and on (ie was the wacky road trip really necessary?) And although Johnny Galecki has a few choice lines as an impressively bitter former friend of Bush and Bradford's couple from hell, Table for Three's place as an aggressively misbegotten romantic comedy is ultimately confirmed time and time again.