A predictable and obvious film that is like a really poor photocopy of a better picture
Cat Thomas (yes, really) is a struggling artist who has no real ambition to really aspire to much. He works as the maintenance guy for the run down building that he lives in a job that he claims is more of an ongoing adventure than anything else but at least it pays the bills. His model girlfriend wants him to move with her to a new apartment in Malibu but he is unsure of such a big step. When one of the tenants commits suicide, Cat blames himself but sets around making the room ready for the new tenant, one Mr Michael Manus. After overhearing a message where a caller congratulates Manus on freeing up the apartment he needed, Cat suspects that Manus may have had a hand in the 'suicide' and joins with neighbour Jane to find out what he is up to.
When I taped this film I checked on IMDb to see what it was about. Given that the page had few reviews, no plot summary and only some character names, I figured that I had either stumbled onto a forgotten gem of a movie or a dog so poor that only a handful of people had bothered to give it a try and none had bothered to add to IMDb. Looking back now, the cast list really should have given me a clue that it would be the latter and not the former. The film opens with an unsuccessful hit on Falco a key witness in the trial of drug kingpin Ruben Maize. This scene is shortly followed by a scene where Cat's neighbour 'kills himself' and a mysterious new tenant takes his room right away causing Cat to follow him around. Now, I'm not going to post spoilers in this review, but if you can't basically guess the rest of the plot from these first few scenes then you are very naïve or I have seen too many movies (or maybe both). The film continues this plot with very little effort, pretty much taking the predictable line all the way to the inevitable conclusion.
Even in the characters is everything obvious Cat is dating professional model Gwen but hangs around with fellow artist and professional flirt Jane. It is so apparent that Cat and Gwen have so little in common that you wonder how they ever managed to get past the first date, never mind actually live together. Also it is so apparent that Cat and Jane are perfectly compatible that it is only a matter of time before they get it on (perhaps in a midnight, semi-lit, love scene with a flash of T&A while jazz plays in the background?). In even these side issues the film just plods ahead without doing anything different or interesting. The directing is flat and uninspiring every frame screams 'TV movie', which in fairness is what it is.
The cast continue to fit into the tv movie standard that the film is aiming for, featuring as it does a collection of actors whose very presence confirms that you are not sitting in a cinema watching the big summer movie of that year. Generally I don't think that Howell is any good at all and is responsible for some of the worst pieces of tat I've seen, and so it is the case here even if he is not as bad as he could have been, his character is pretty obvious and he never brings anything to it. Fahey is his usual low rent self in an obvious role and he doesn't do anything other than smile and act normal for the majority of the film before then becoming a sinister killer all dressed in black, not to mention a laughably poor 'master of disguise'. Personally I do like Chong and here she is light and flirty in a way that added at least a little spark to the dull movie, she isn't any good but at least she is quite fun. Cox's presence is only one of a curio now that Friends has made her a star, but suffice to say she is poor here and just adds nothing to the film. The presence of Guilfoyle only adds the humour value of seeing him in such a silly role when many of us will know him for CSI.
Overall this is an obvious and basic thriller that goes exactly where you know it will and has been done better in many other films. The script is predictable and weak, the characters obvious (whether it be 'mysterious neighbour', 'incompatible girlfriend' or 'close female friend') and the cast do nothing to raise the material or add value (although Chong is always pretty cute). Not a hidden gem after all then, just a sub par TVM that has nothing new in it and only aspires to copy better films.
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