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Two Comedies from MTI Home Video

Hooking Up (December 9/09)

Hooking Up is an amateurish, pervasively unwatchable "comedy" that feels as though it were shot and edited over a weekend, with the film's myriad of problems exacerbated by Vincent Scordia's excessively (and uniformly) slipshod directorial choices. The movie follows several teenagers - male and female - as they attempt to navigate the treacherous waters of the modern dating scene, with an emphasis also placed on the ongoing exploits of a hapless science teacher (Bronson Pinchot's Mr. Kimbal) and the kids' clueless principal (Brian O'Halloran's Dr. Jordan). Scordia's incredible lack of talent is in evidence virtually from Hooking Up's opening frames, as the would-be filmmaker introduces the various characters with on-screen text that seems to have been generated with a Commodore 64 (and, even more impressive, Scordia actually manages to misspell Nicolas Cage's name at one point). One's efforts at overlooking the pervasively low-rent atmosphere are consistently stymied by screenwriter Jeff Siegel's predilection for relentless sleaze, as virtually all of the movie's characters come off as scuzzy, downright reprehensible figures lacking in anything even resembling redeeming qualities - with Corey Feldman's Ryan a particularly odious example of this (ie he drunkenly forces his girlfriend to strip in front of his friends and then hits her the following day after realizing what she did at his behest). Aside from the short-lived novelty of Pinchot and O'Halloran's onscreen presence, Hooked Up suffers from a total dearth of positive attributes that cements its place as an absolutely worthless piece of work (with the movie's inability to say anything constructive or relevant about contemporary relationships only compounding this feeling).

no stars out of


Love and Mary (December 9/09)

Armed with a proliferation of almost unreasonably off-kilter elements, Love and Mary effectively squanders the palpable chemistry between its two leads to become a tedious, sporadically interminable romantic comedy. The movie follows uptight baker Mary (Lauren German) as she reluctantly agrees to visit her Texan family in the hopes of collecting a sizable engagement gift from a wealthy relative, with problems ensuing as her fiancé (Gabriel Mann's Brent) finds himself unable to travel as a result of an allergic reaction - which effectively forces Mary to pass off Brent's ne'er-do-well twin brother as her betrothed. It's a reasonably serviceable premise that's employed to disappointingly underwhelming effect, as writer/director Elizabeth Harrison's thoroughly low-rent visual sensibilities are exacerbated by a consistent emphasis on hopelessly quirky elements - with the eye-rolling treatment of Mary's Southern relatives certainly ranking high on the movie's list of transgressions (ie Mary's parents attempt to give her the sex talk while out at a fancy restaurant). The atmosphere of intolerable eccentricity subsequently cancels out German and Mann's admittedly charismatic work, and although there does reach a point at which the film essentially morphs into a standard romcom, Love and Mary has incontrovertibly established itself as a pervasively lackluster endeavor that doesn't bode well for Harrison's future as a filmmaker.

out of

About the DVDs: Both films arrive on DVD courtesy of MTI Home Video, armed with anamorphically-enhanced transfers and a smattering of bonus features.
© David Nusair