E1 Entertainment's January '11 Releases
Love Hurts (January 30/11)
Love Hurts casts Richard E. Grant as Ben Bingham, a successful dentist who is under the mistaken impression that his marriage to Carrie-Anne Moss' Amanda is a happy and mutually fulfilling one. Unbeknownst to Ben, however, Amanda has been miserable for quite some time and, while he's at work one afternoon, she finally gets up the courage to leave him. Ben initially sinks into an alcohol-and-junk-food fueled depression, with the character's less-than-savory situation persisting until his adult son (Johnny Pacar's Justin) decides to help out by giving him a much-needed image makeover. Armed with a new haircut and snazzier threads, Ben heads out into the world and immediately begins attracting the attention of various women - though it's clear that he still pines for his estranged wife. It's a sitcom-like premise that's employed to pervasively underwhelming effect by filmmaker Barra Grant, as the writer/director has infused the proceedings with a consistently inauthentic and downright simplistic feel that holds the viewer at arm's length from start to finish. (For example, Ben's dental assistant, played by Jenna Elfman, clearly despises the man at the film's outset, yet she virtually throws herself at him following his far-from-radical makeover.) The inclusion of several aggressively pointless subplots - ie Justin's tedious pursuit of a seemingly unattainable ballerina (Olga Fonda's Valeriya) - cements Love Hurts' place as an utterly misbegotten piece of work, which is a shame, really, as the movie does boast a typically charismatic performance from Grant.