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In the seedy part of Los Angeles, a man who writes poetry has spent six months without leaving his apartment because of his paranoid delusions involving sadistic doctors, rappers, and spiders. A woman who seems to jinx things by wanting to help is dumped by her boyfriend and finds herself penniless on the streets, and soon runs afoul of a local gang. Due to a telephone glitch, the man calls her at a phone booth trying to dial a "talk line" and invites her to his place. There they must help each other to overcome their respective problems. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
"Xena" star Ted Raimi (Sam's brother) plays Hank Stone, a formerly institutionalized mental case who (when off his medication) suffers from rather nasty hallucinations and has a phobia that he will be attacked if he ventures outside his apartment. Sort of "Repulsion" (1966) meets "The Secret Lives of Dentists" (2002). It is titled a romance and is inaccurately billed as a comedy.
When he is not dealing with the imaginary spiders creeping around it his brain, the rappers that appear when he plays music, the "hot" billboard girl who seduces him, and the mad doctors prodding him with needles; Hank finds the time to feel lonely and impulsively invites an unseen girl he has dialed on the phone to come up and see him sometime.
The girl turns out to be Nancy, a neurotic but squeaky-clean damsel in distress (she has p....d off a local street gang). Hank is extremely pleased when Nancy arrives (not surprising as she is played by Deborah Foreman-arguably the most beautiful of all the young Hollywood actresses of the 1980's). This was one of Foreman's last films, she wasn't getting quality stuff and had begun to fade a tiny bit physically; director Josh Becker unnecessarily compensates for this by limiting her extreme close-ups.
Hank and Nancy discover they share both an interest in poetry and a tendency to lash out violently at each other during moments of mental disturbance. But Hank's love for Nancy will inspire him to face his demons and venture into the world to save her.
Josh Becker wrote and directed the film, not Sam Raimi of "Evil Dead" fame. Raimi produced the film and Becker was one of his close associates, which may account for the confusion.
The low budget special effects are actually an asset as they give a unity to the expressionistic feel of the film; as does the wonky jazz score.
While some viewers really connect with this film, mainstream viewers will be either bored or irritated. Bored because this is a minimalist movie in which what little happens does so in an unconvincing manner and without a build-up of suspense or real tension.
Irritating because the story is structured wrong. It is supposed to be a romance yet the characters do not meet until minute 42 of the 87 minutes running length. They are only together on the screen for about 20% of the film. This also means that the story be told from two separate points of view, which distances the viewer and makes it necessary to expend a lot of energy achieving a strong identification with either character.
Nonetheless, there is a lot of originality here and the overall the viewing experience is a pleasant one.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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