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Kevin R. Phipps
We spend a week in the L.A. offices where the daytime TV show "The Love Judge" is written and produced. Jo, the show's large and loud producer, announces she is leaving the show in two weeks. Paula (driven and on Prozac) and Mark (gay and moody) compete for Jo's job. Mark, coming onto the first anniversary of the death from AIDS of the love of his life, is attracted to Bill, who claims to be straight. Meanwhile, Jeremy, a close friend of Mark's, is putting the moves on Bill. Leslie, Jo's overworked assistant, tells Mark she wants to be a writer (she even has a script written). How these relationships that combine work and friendship play out is the movie's subject. Written by
I think some other reviewers here have missed the point. It's a soap opera.
The characters--script writers and producers--take details from their soap-opera lives and put them into the cheesy daytime drama they work on. That's obvious, of course, because we hear various references to their lives in the dialog of the show.
They're all grieving for different things, but they deal with the tragicomedy of their lives in a flip, sardonic way most of the time. It's one of the ways they manage to keep a lid on everything. Still, things boil over every once in a while. And, like a soap opera, situations escalate to high melodrama. These are theatrical people, after all.
So, I like the script. And the performances are all good; some are perfect. If there's a weak link in the acting, it's Jackie Beat as Jo. Initially she seems overly wound up and unconvincing, but she's so dedicated to the part that eventually you buy in. Chester and Douglas are wonderful, as usual.
You can tell it's a low-budget production, but it doesn't look cheap or haphazard. Okay, the cinematography isn't the best, but it's good enough.
Yes, by 2009 some of the gay genre story lines are over-familiar. But I say, don't be so hard on this movie. I think it captures the era well, and I, for one, was entertained throughout.
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