Two Romantic Comedies from Warner Bros.
Extreme Dating (February 4/06)
Though Extreme Dating is clearly going for a wacky vibe reminiscent of an '80s comedy, the film's hijinks ultimately come off as strained and forced (despite the inclusion of one or two genuinely funny moments). The story revolves around several advertising executives who are told to come up with a hip slogan for a ski resort, and use the assignment as an excuse for trying out their "extreme dating" theory. Said theory assumes that two members of the opposite sex, when thrown into a dangerous situation, will naturally find themselves drawn to one another. Extreme Dating has all the subtlety of a sitcom, complete with broad performances (Andrew Keegan is particularly guilty of this) and an overly simplistic/predictable storyline. Director Lorena David's efforts to infuse the film with a frenetic sensibility generally fall flat, while Jeff Schectman's screenplay doesn't have much of interest to say about relationships. Solid performances from Amanda Detmer and Lee Tergesen occasionally elevate the proceedings, but really, Extreme Dating is precisely the sort of disposable entertainment one expects to stumble upon at 3:30 in the morning.
You Stupid Man (February 5/06)
While You Stupid Man is generally well made and surprisingly well acted, writer/director Brian Burns' excessive reliance on romcom cliches quickly transforms the flick into an unusually tedious experience. David Krumholtz stars as the title character, a reporter named Owen who discovers that his TV-star girlfriend (Denis Richards) is cheating on him with one of her costars. He finds solace in his newfound friendship with the sweet and down-to-earth Nadine (Milla Jovovich), and although it's clear that the two are perfect for each other, Owen continues to hold out hope for a reconciliation with his cheating ex. Burns establishes a mood of absurdness right off the bat, with a sequence in which Owen and his girlfriend breakup in front of a sitcom audience - who, of course, believe it to be part of the show they were brought in to watch (resulting in inappropriate laughter and "aww" responses). Likewise, the filmmaker's decision to pepper the storyline with various quirky elements does nothing to alleviate the decidedly nonsensical vibe (a problem that's exacerbated by an almost complete lack of plot). Burns' efforts to infuse the movie with a New York-based, Ed Burns sort of feeling fall flat, as the director is either unable or unwilling to bring anything new to the table (and yes, he is related to Ed Burns). Jovovich's warm performance is one of the film's few positive attributes, while Krumholtz makes for a surprisingly convincing leading man (although he occasionally steps over the line into smugness). In the end, You Stupid Man is just too light to really have any kind of an impact and there's absolutely nothing here we haven't seen thousands of times before (there's even a sequence in which Owen must run to win back the woman he loves!)