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Rachel flees NYC after another traumatic breakup and arrives at her parents' home in San Diego. They are adamant to see their wayward daughter settle down with a nice girl. Rachel goes on several blind dates that misfire badly. She finally lets her mother set her up with Christine, a typical Californian girl. Much to Rachel's chagrin, mom is right! Meanwhile, Rachel's friends wait for her to screw up the relationship. They know, even if she won't admit it, that she still carries a torch for her ex-girlfriend and they're not sure what would happen if she reappeared to reclaim Rachel. Written by
Billed as a top pick of Gay and Lesbian film festivals around the world, this film left me wanting. Helen Lesnick is an OK enough writer, but her direction is a little pedestrian, and her acting chops don't suit the role. I agree that she seems far too old for the part, playing a 34-year-old? Please! She appears at least 43. Also, I was turned off by the sound of her voice, it drove me mad throughout the whole film. Shaffer isn't much better -- but she suffers aesthetically for two reasons, as well: her hair looks like a very bad horsehair wig all the way through, and she has absolutely RIDICULOUS wardrobe. I have seen Shaffer in other roles, though, and she's not as bad in those as she was in this.
There is no chemistry to speak of between Lesnick and Shaffer, and the relationship seems to develop without any substance -- we don't have much of a clue what they see in each other. Five minutes of what Lesnick wants us to think is witty repartee (but isn't) and then a year has passed and they're deeply in love. It's crazy! Perhaps Lesnick is trying to play on lesbian stereotypes (moving in right after meeting), but it seems like little actual thought went into this.
Michele Greene is given very little to work with in her role as the third member of the love triangle. I felt the film would have benefited if it had given us a little more reason to understand why Rachel (Lesnick) was so attracted to Reggie (Greene) in the first place, and had thrown Reggie back into the mix a little sooner. Despite all of this, Greene's performance is the standout in the film.
As it stands, it seems to be an attempt at comedy about the confusion of love and commitment that really has nothing to say about love and commitment at all.
An attempt at humour falls flat when Christine (Shaffer) is confused about the difference between physics and phys ed, and I think it's a bit below the belt -- this film really tries to give the message that west coast Americans are stupid, and east coast Americans are all intellectual, without really ever giving much of an example of either. It's too easy, pitting a massage therapist against a physics professor. Come on, give the audience some credit! The resolution is a total disappointment: it teaches that you can make life-altering decisions on the basis of a pep talk, and that life-long problems can be solved without real examination of their causes. Plural.
Lesnick is well-meaning -- she tries her best, she puts in lots of cynicism and dark-humour, but it just doesn't cut the mustard. Her follow-up work, Inescapable, which I actually saw BEFORE I saw A Family Affair, suffers from major script and direction problems as well, and it doesn't surprise me at all, now, because it appears that Lesnick's range is fairly limited.
This film bored me to tears. Don't see it if you want to watch LBGT films with some substance.
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