ANYTHING BUT LOVE (2003)
Starring Isabel Rose, Andrew McCarthy, Cameron Bancroft, Ilana Levine, Victor Argo, Peter Appel, Bart DeFinna, Sean Arbuckle, Michael J. Burg, Matthew Lawler, Frank Senger, Josh Stamberg, Craig Wroe and Eartha Kitt.
Screenplay by Robert Cary and Isabel Rose.
Directed by Robert Cary.
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Pictures. Rated PG-13. 99 minutes.
I first saw this movie in May of 2002 at the Maryland Film Festival. At the time it had the more evocative title Standard Time. It was a charmingly old-fashioned romantic comedy and I was disappointed that it appeared to get lost in the shuffle, never getting a theatrical release or even popping up on video. It’s nice to see a year and a half later that the film is starting to slowly make its way into theaters across country. If you have a chance to catch it, it’s definitely worth it.
The movie stars, and was co-written by, Isabel Rose, a theatrical actress and singer. (Her only previous film credit was a small role in Forrest Gump). Rose plays Billie Golden, a thirtyish cabaret singer who likes to imagine herself as Rita Hayworth or Audrey Hepburn, performing in chic, swanky nightclubs of the 1950s. The film captures the feeling and the era wonderfully, it really does feel like a film from this period, but without the arch campiness of the recent Renee Zellweger sixties pastiche Down With Love.
The problem is, Billie lives fifty years later, and the only place that will hire her is a crummy bar in her neighborhood of Queens, near where Billie lives with her mother. Billie’s father was a big band musician who disappeared years earlier, and her mother does not support Billie’s dreams… or delusions… which Billie resents seriously. When it comes to the things she wants, Billie just isn’t ENOUGH; she’s a good singer, but not the best, she’s pretty but getting older, she’s determined and yet completely insecure.
Billie’s life changes significantly when two men enter her life. The first one is Greg (Cameron Bancroft), an old high school acquaintance who has grown into an extremely successful lawyer. He is handsome, personable and successful, but he’s also selfish and has no time for Billie’s dreams. When she loses the bar job, she has to give in to commercial pressure and goes to an audition to sing a commercial. She instantly gets into a fight with Elliot (80s brat packer Andrew McCarthy) a bohemian pianist who is also is forced to give up his art for money when he hires himself out as an accompanist and plays at a piano bar. The passion of their fight soon turns into a grudging mutual admiration when Billie hires Elliot as a music teacher.
They become friends and feel a romantic spark, but will Billie give up the safety that Greg offers to return to the dreams she is supposed to be leaving behind? The question really isn’t that hard to answer, but it is still charming the twists and turns the plot takes to make it to the end. The movie isn’t an earth-shattering innovation, but it’s a perfectly appealing traditional love story. These days, the world can use more of those. (10/03)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright © 2003 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: August 13, 2003.