When Will I Be Loved (2004) Poster

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Bitterly disappointing
rcraig623 September 2005
This movie got a lot of undeserved juice from Roger Ebert's four-star review, and it's just awful. I've liked some of Toback's other work, particularly "Fingers", but this thing feels like a really boring home movie on autopilot. It's purportedly about the non-adventures of this bratty little rich girl (Neve Campbell) and her no-account boyfriend (Fred Weller) and, ultimately, their scheme to seduce a rich Italian count (Dominic Chianese) out of some major money. But it takes some time to get to this plot point, and up till then, the movie just meanders in a cinema-verite sort of way that makes it seem like Toback can use it as an excuse for the picture being a dud. It's like he's saying, "Well, whatever we shot, we shot. I can't be held responsible for the randomness of events."

The movie goes from Neve Campbell meeting one person on the street to another in what I'm sure Toback would insist was "character development", but it's done in such a way that it all rings false. It's scripted without being scripted. In another words, it's contrived. When Neve's college professor (played by Toback) explains what he thinks is going on with Neve and her head games, you can almost hear the gears locking in the background. It might be the most mechanical ad-libbed sequence in history.

Toback's use of celebrity here is also peculiar. The Mike Tyson cameo is pretty funny; he actually gives the movie a momentary spark. But when Toback has Neve recognizing a bit actress like Lori Singer on the street like she's Jane Fonda, I wonder what world he's living in. This whole "expository" part feels like padding, like Toback didn't have enough legit material to go around. Then, when the action shifts to the "scheme" in the final twenty minutes, it's good - it's the best part of the film. But the effect is a little jarring. Toback goes from a lazy, dawdling atmosphere to a sequence that's scripted tighter than Abbott & Costello's Who's on First, and it just doesn't work. The two forms don't really mesh, and you get the feeling Toback only had twenty good minutes in him to begin with - the rest is like a warm-up, like running in place to get the circulation going. And I hate to sound like an old prude (which I'm far from being), but the nude shower scene is an absolute cheap shot; Neve Campbell is just being exploited here. It has nothing to do with her character or anything else; it's completely gratuitous. But I guess anything goes when you have no material. Minus credits, this thing is barely over an hour and fifteen minutes. It hardly seems worth being made.
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What a waste.......
andyrichterismissing2 October 2004
James Toback's When Will Be Loved has a very, loose, ramshackle quality that it is ill-suited for. As the film opens, it cuts back and forth, jarringly, between Fred Weller rambling on his cell phone, and Neve Campbell taking a shower. The music even changes between each cut..and it's just so sloppily done, and unfortunately, the rest of the film, for the most part, is just as sloppy. Between the music being way too damn loud (whoever mixed the sound on this film did a lousy-ass job!), or certain scenes being more or less pointless, the film is a just a ramshackle, sloppy mess. Does the scene where Neve runs into Lori Singer in the park add anything? Other than perhaps killing time...no. Is the scene with Mike Tyson necessary? No, again it adds nothing, wastes time. And the threesome in the park scene? Not needed either...as we already know Weller is a small-time bum, out for his own gratification. Why is Chianese's character a Count? That's just ridiculous..and it seriously undercuts the believability of his character...and yet his sequence with Campbell is the only one in the film that really works. The rest of it......not so much. This is primarily because of the tired,tired stereotypical small time hustler character that Weller is given to play. Weller does what he can, and is occasionally amusing, but on the whole, we've seen this character too many damn times...we know right away that he has no connections, is a liar, a loser, etc. Knowing that, watching this character is quite irritating, as it offers no surprises, but plenty o' stale crap we have to sit through. This movie is just a mess. Not completely bad, but mostly, a ramshackle mess.
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Too clever or not clever enough
tehck23 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When Will I Be Loved is either a really stupid movie or far too clever for its own good. Neve Campbell plays Vera Barrie, a poor little rich girl who, at first glance, appears to be fending off the efforts of everyone around her to use and control her. Her stereotypical wealthy parents make clear how she should arrange every aspect of her life, from what kind of mattress she sleeps on to who she sleeps with. Her boyfriend is a sleazy con artist who hopes to talk her into having sex with a billionaire Italian count for $100,000, wanting in effect, to pimp her. The Count, of course, wants to buy her affection and her body. As it turns out, none of these characters controls this girl. On the contrary, the amoral Vera manipulates almost everyone she comes into contact with for her own amusement and gain. While interviewing for an assistant's job with a college professor, she maneuvers the academic's clumsy efforts to flirt with her into a virtual admission of potential sexual harassment, all but forcing him to offer her the position. This interview takes place as the two are walking along the sidewalks of New York, and when the professor is twice distracted by passers by (one of whom is disgraced boxer Mike Tyson himself in perhaps the high point of the movie) Vera uses each break in their conversation to try to pick up attractive men who happen to be near. She engages in a lesbian tryst behind her boyfriend's back, and she apparently deliberately starts an argument between a couple on a park bench by openly flirting with the boy. In the central plot conflict, the affair with the count, she is the spider weaving every strand of the web. Her boyfriend Ford makes a pathetic attempt to conceal his motives as he introduces the subject, but she seems to expect this kind of low scheme from him and anticipates his every move. Not surprisingly, she quickly accepts and tells him to set it up. The lovestruck Count has only seen Vera briefly twice and compares his ardor for her to the poet Dante's passion for Beatrice. Vera quickly manipulates the Count into upping the ante to one million dollars cash. She gives the Count his afternoon of passion and stashes the money in a safety deposit box immediately thereafter. When Ford returns to claim his share of the loot, she lies, telling him that the Count is a fraud who refused to pay her the $100,000. This leads to a confrontation between Ford and the Italian with deeply tragic consequences for both. Although clearly the cause of this misery, Vera show little evidence of guilt and more than a little self-satisfaction.

While this plot may sound interesting, the movie robs it of the energy and intrigue it promises. First of all, Vera is a strangely passive character. She doesn't seem to actively manipulate anyone, she simply reacts to what they do in a way that elicits the behavior she wants. As a result, she is neither interesting nor sympathetic, and, worst of all, her passivity conceals just how despicable she is. When the revelation comes, it is too late and too muted to redeem the story. At best, we go from not liking Vera very much to hating her. We never understand what motivates or satisfies her (beyond her obviously active sex life).

Second, much of what happens is simply not very believable. Basically everyone in the story but Vera is a one-note stereotype. The Count is the most problematic. With no back story but the fact that he is a billionaire "communications" magnate, we are asked to believe that he would bring six grocery bags full of cash to an apartment to make a woman he'd never met happy in the hope that she might sleep with him -- if she wants to. Perhaps this could happen, but the movie doesn't earn our belief. Our incredulity is sharpened by the fact that Neve Campbell is arguably the least attractive woman in the movie. Neve's highly publicized nude shower scene does little to establish the sexual magnetism Vera is apparently supposed to have. Both naked and clothed, she's somewhat shapeless, which only mirrors the impassive smugness she wears on her pleasant but unremarkable face for most of the movie. Vera doesn't have to look like Angelina Jolie, but she should at least look interested. Finally, the soundtrack is horrible. Most of the dialog is drowned in an incessant music track. Brahms, Bach, and Beethoven accompany Vera almost every moment she's on screen. Perhaps the unending Classical ditties are meant to suggest Vera's sophistication or artistry, but like her vague character they quickly move from puzzling to annoying.
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Could we get a little more detached, please?
Craig Whyel26 February 2005
What a real bummer. I have to lay most of the rap on Mr. Toback. First, inserting himself into an already short movie (that must run 81 minutes with opening AND closing credits) appeared both self-aggrandizing, unnecessary, and a near complete digression (as was the lengthy cameo by former boxing great Mike Tyson). I would elaborate but I don't want to ruin some questions that might arise should you be paying attention (Picture Michael Moore on the Atkins diet, wearing a dashiki).

Neve Campbell is thoroughly charming and totally wasted as the lost, passionate rich girl. Bottom line, is that there will be thousands make off of her nudity in this flick. The nudity only consists of a shower scene. The sex scenes are little more than bumping and grinding and contrived, and I can only wonder if the talent were as uncomforable making those scenes as I was watching them.

But back to the erstwhile Mr. Toback, if you listen carefully to his voice early on, then you'll likely hear it in the other characters as well. His New York chatterbox cadence becomes tiresome.

I had hoped for better. Ms. Campbell is a major talent is one or two films away from breaking out super huge. Mr. Toback is also talented though this certainly isn't the work to pin his fame on. I wish them well in their future endeavors, and mourn for the eighty-one minutes I can never get back.
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Neve Fans Beware
jmlazare15 September 2004
I am sorry, but this might have been the absolute worst film I have ever seen. I am not usually a harsh critic, but this movie made me ashamed to call myself a fan of Neve Campbell's work. It has no plot, makes no sense, begins stories that it doesn't finish, and goes nowhere. In a word, it sucks. I mean, who cares about a spoiled, rich girl and her sexual escapades. And wow - she's like girls too. A novelty in twenty-first century film-making. Not even the sex scenes were stimulating. Personally, I could have done quite well without being subjected to Neve's pained expressions while being done from behind by her slimy pimp of a boyfriend. And what is with the "African" professor? He is there in the beginning, and then suddenly he's just gone (thank god). I'm not sure if the fact that it is barely over an hour long is a positive or a negative. Negative, because who wants to pay what it costs today to see a film for a mere hour of movie-watching, but positive because I don't think I could have stood a minute longer of such utter crap. I don't think I have ever seen so many people walk out of a theatre mid-movie. The only reason I didn't leave myself was my unfulfilled hope that somehow the movie would redeem itself with an interesting ending. Apologies for my crudeness, but crap is truly what this wannabe Cruel Intentions meets Wild Things meets Indecent Proposal is.
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Bad acting, annoying characters, annoying music
tieftrunk3 January 2005
This movie is mostly annoying.

Many scenes are unnecessarily prolonged. I started to skip ahead through the last half, and it became slightly more tolerable.

The dialog is stream of conscience, and mostly failed to contribute to the story. Maybe if I was thirteen it would be more entertaining.

Music plays throughout the entire movie, which comes off as a failed attempt at creativity. I love new filming techniques and what not, but this just didn't work for me. The music makes the entire movie feel like an intro or intermission scene. Maybe it is an attempt to disguise the bad acting.

To its credit, this would be a pretty good plot for a porno film.
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a waste of my life
Hannah5 February 2005
When Will I be Loved is a film that attempts at many things but fails miserably. The title in itself is misleading in that it gives the impression that the main character, Vera, is searching for love that's owed her. In fact, Vera appears to have everything one could possibly wish for in life, including two caring doting parents. Why she chooses to engage in self-destructive and vindicative behavior is a complete mystery. The only reasonable conclusion one could make is that she is bored with with the perfectness of the life into which she is born and wishes to disturb that somehow by becoming attached to a hustler. This movie is pretentious and ridiculous beyond reason. The characters are written in such a way that they are not even recognizable as human, but rather just qualities. Non of the characters are accessible on any level, which makes the viewer completely apathetic to the outcome of their dilemmas. I, for one, was angry that I had wasted my time with a film that was not pleasing on ANY level. In fact, as the previous reviewer mentioned, the music that we are inundated with is distracting and serves no particular purpose. A bitter revolting taste still remains in my mouth from having watched this one hour ago.
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Indecent Proposal meets Wild Things.
BraveHawk2 February 2005
When Will I Be Loved is a story about Vera (Neve Campbell), who seems to be struggling with who she is and what she wants out of life. She has a scheming boyfriend named Ford (Fred Weller) whose character is directly lifted from Phone Booth's Stu Shepard, played by Colin Farrell. The two characters are nearly identical, only Ford is not as likable. Other than this, there is no real storyline going on until, after what seems like an eternity, the last 15-20 minutes. It becomes a cross between Indecent Proposal and Wild Things.

Truthfully, this movie bored me until the 3rd act. There is one main reason most men wanted to see this film, and most of you know what it is. Neve Campbell is featured in her first nude scene. While I am certainly all for her doing this, I believe it was done because her career had become a little stagnant. She has not really done anything to note since Scream. I think she had the right idea to get some attention back on herself, she just picked the wrong movie to do it with. There was not even any real reason to have the nudity. It did nothing for the plot, which was nearly non-existent. It was simply thrown in at the beginning and the end. Again, I'm thankful, but I feel it could have been put to better use in a better film with better meaning. It is the only reason I'm giving this movie 5 of 10 stars.
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Utterly hideous.
stephinspace21 September 2007
Ugh. Is there really anything else to say about this film? Neve Campbell is completely unconvincing as an object of anyone's desire. She's not talented, nor is she attractive (why hasn't her agent told her to get that overbite fixed???). The sex scenes are crap, the music is distracting, the dialogue is irritating. It seems almost as though there was a longer, better, more interesting film here, but all of the good parts were mysteriously clipped out, leaving behind this disjointed, amateur, faux-artsy heap of rubbish. The pacing in this film is completely off. Why do we need to see 45 minutes of her in that unflattering dress, walking around the city having awkward conversations with random people? Skip this film. Or, if you're really hard up, just skip to the sex scenes. Wait, no, don't, they're awful. Yes, even the lesbian scene. It's really not worth suffering through the rest of this garbage.
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Pretty awful overall, with one good performance
Azeem Ali Khan2 August 2005
I found Toback's earlier film Black and White mildly diverting, so gave this one a whirl. The scuttlebutt was that this was Neve Campbell's best (and sexiest) performance so far. Well, that much may be true-ish, but the rest of this film is, in places, almost unwatchably bad.

Most of the characters (or should I say caricatures - take the Italian mogul: did anybody find this man even remotely believable?) are without a shred of originality, and in the case of Ford, bear virtually no resemblance to human beings of the sort you or I might actually meet. It may be that his relentless hustling is *intended* to show him as a pathetic individual - but there is a fine line between depicting characters we may not like but in whom we can invest some interest as to their fate; and, as happens in this film, showing people who are irredeemably ghastly, and about whose fate we don't give a toss.

In Black and White, Mike Tyson had a very funny cameo, in which Robert Downey Junior's character tries to seduce him. Here, it looks as if Toback has simply raided his address book and shoehorned as many celebrity cameos as he could into what passes for the plot. Ooh, look, there's Lori Singer! Wow, there's Mike Tyson (again). Ooh, that really is Damon Dash! Toback's own performance as the "hilariously" named cross-cultural enabler is pure smugness in a bottle. The only honest moment is when he confesses to wanting to get into Neve Campbell's knickers. We can only speculate as to whether that is a case of art imitating life.

And Neve Campbell? Yes, she is good in this. She gets some decent dialogue to get her teeth into and delivers it with aplomb. I still think Wild Things is a better showcase for her talent.

The incident towards the end of the film was certainly unexpected; but then again, any idiot can make unexpected things happen in a film. The trick is to work up to it in *some* way. Toback is either incapable of doing this, or simply can't be bothered. The dénouement left me shrugging: so what? Who cares about these cardboard cut-outs?
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