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Myles is divorced in L.A. He wants a love life and a film career. So he decides to go on 20 dates and find true love in front of a camera, making his first feature. His patient agent, Richard, finds a $60,000 investor, the shadowy Elie. Myles starts his search, sometimes telling his date she's being filmed, sometimes not. Elie wants sex and titillation, Myles wants it "real." Myles regularly talks with his old film teacher, Robert McKee, who wonders if love is possible in modern life. Half-way through the 20 dates, Myles meets Elisabeth; she's everything he desires and she likes him. Can he finish the 20 dates, satisfy Elie, and complete his film without losing Elisabeth? Written by
The summary is a bit redundant: Mockumentaries, as a genre, are fairly quirky.
In this case, recently divorced Myles, also a wannabe filmmaker, decides to make a documentary about trying to find true love in L.A. He commits to going on 20 dates and recording the results. Unfortunately, halfway through, he falls in love with one of his dates and now has to figure out how to complete the project without alienating his new love.
What makes this different from standard mockumentaries -- and what some of the other IMDB reviewers seem to be missing -- is that, while it's clear that the final film isn't a true account of the events (some of the dates are obviously faked, and Elie the villainous producer can't really be THAT evil), it isn't so clear whether Myles Berkowitz (credited as writer and director, as well as star) started out with a serious intent to make a documentary, or whether it was meant to be fiction from the outset.
Most of the evidence points to Berkowitz' initial sincerity. This *is* his only film (except for a bit part in "No Small Affair," 16 years before this movie), and Elie *is* listed as Executive Producer. The official budget *is* the stated $60K. Most of the early dates seem real -- it's only the later ones that start to feel scripted, especially the feminist ballerina.
One thing that gives this movie its charm, then, is that while Myles (the character) fumes about the way in which his original vision for the movie is eroding away from pressure from Elie, Berkowitz (the filmmaker) seems to be going through the same genuine quandary for a different reason -- it didn't take his full 20 dates to find love, and NOW what's he supposed to do?
The cover job is both charming and disorienting: He goes back over the old footage and edits it so it looks like it could have been a mockumentary from the start, but plays it from the hip so it looks like a mockumentary pretending to be a documentary.
Wouldn't Robert McKee be proud?
Others might not have the same sense of pride. The film will come off as either a clever if ham-fisted attempt to make lemon footage into lemonade, or a pretentious and annoying trip into the avenues of Independent Film by a blind drunkard.
Viewer's choice, and it seems to depend on what the viewer thinks of Myles: Is he annoying, or is he cute?
I thought he was cute, and while the film is hardly a classic, it's worth a try. Look for it on cable (that's where I found it), and if you're sick of it after half an hour, turn it off and not much lost.
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