Starring Amanda Bynes, Chris Carmack, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Jonathan Bennett, Joey Kern, Alfonso Ribeiro, Kathy Griffin, Lance Bass, Susan Duerdan and Fred Willard.
Screenplay by Stephen Langford.
Directed by Randal Kleiser.
Distributed by Media 8 Entertainment. 83 minutes. Rated PG.
It’s sort of surprising that Lovewrecked is just now slipping into video stores without a wide theatrical release after about two years of studio purgatory. It has seen some cursory signs of life – it was apparently released to theaters in Russia in 2006 and did finally get its US debut on ABC Family Channel.
Lovewrecked probably did not deserve this fate. Not that it’s a great film or even a good one – it’s not. But it was cute enough fare for the tween-age demographic that it was obviously courting.
Star Amanda Bynes is not quite as big as Lindsay or Hilary, but she’s probably even more likable than those two rivals and has a substantial following. The movie also co-stars some attractive, well-known young actors – Chris Carmack of The OC, Jamie-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos and Jonathan Bennett of Mean Girls. There is beautiful tropical scenery and lots of bikinis and buff guys. There is also a whole island full of interesting D-level celebrities like Kathy Griffin, Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Lance Bass (N’SYNC) and Fred Willard.
Bynes plays Jenny, a beautiful teen who is madly in love with a teen pop star (Carmack). As is required in these films, she has a cute boy who is her best friend (Bennett) but is really afraid to tell her that he is in love with her. Of course, she has never thought of him in that way – as far as she’s concerned, he’s just her buddy. They get a job working at a Caribbean resort where the singer shows up. Jenny’s high school enemy Alexis (Sigler) also happens to be working there and the two girls vie for the hunky heartthrob’s attention while the best friend mopes.
So far, so predictable. There is a bit of a plot stretch when Jenny and the singer get shipwrecked on a strange beach. He has broken his foot, so Jenny must care for him – and at the same time, get to know him and win him over. Soon enough Jenny realizes that they are just a short walk from the resort they left, but she doesn’t tell him so that she can monopolize his time. Soon Alexis finds out and they both fight over the guy while hiding from him the fact that they are close to civilization.
It seems a little weird that Jenny would go that far, honestly. Yes, it’s true he’s rich, a star and cute, but she quickly realizes that he’s kind of shallow and stupid. She seems disappointed by that, but not enough to give up on him.
Director Randal Kleiser – a long way from his heyday as the wunderkind director of Grease – at least has some shipwreck experience to draw on. Twenty-five years earlier he was at the helm of arguably the definitive desert island film, The Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields, so he knows his way around sand, fauna and fish. He’s not quite so up-to-snuff on directing actors, slapstick and comic pulse.
Bynes is much better than the material. Most of the time that the movie seems to be losing the audience, she is able to get things back on track by sheer force of personality. Lovewrecked is not a movie that will probably become a favorite for most people, but your 11-year old daughter will most likely love it. (3/07)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 12, 2007.