Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Okay film, but still a vanity affair
Thomas M. Sipos | Santa Monica, CA | 02/03/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"[...]FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE is also supposed to be about "late bloomers." Lead character Jenna Mattison laments that her life has no direction, despite that she's about to turn 25. 25 doesn't sound like a late bloomer to me, but okay.
Some of the films in this genre are good, some not so good. FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE is okay, not great. It has a quasi-verite style, with the camera often panning back and forth between the characters, in a sort like on MTV.
Like most of these indie films, there's no clear storyline. Rather, events meander from situation to situation. People date, get dumped, go to singles bars, discuss sex and love, date some more, dump some more, etc.
As is usually the case, there are some strong moments among tiresome cliches. Brad Rowe plays an "alpha male" (by his own admission) who's crude and boorish to women, yet exudes animal magnetism that attracts them even as he abuses them. Rowe is effective in this role, giving his character just enough arrogant charm that we can believe women are attracted to him, even as we see what a jerk he is.
There's also some silly PC boilerplate. At one point, Mattison's best friend expresses her lesbian love for Mattison. This initially upsets the straight Mattison. Then Mattison meets a bag lady on Hollywood Blvd., who offers words of wisdom. This Bag Lady tells Mattison that love is so rare and precious, that we shouldn't mind or care whether what age, or color, or gender it comes from. That we shouldn't be so quick to discount it's potential for everlasting love.
Well, that's just idiotic. Color may not matter, but gay or straight, most people care very much about the sex of the person who expresses love. To say otherwise is just divorced from reality. And don't get me started about pearls of wisdom from a Hollywood Blvd. Bag Lady.
But the weakest elements in this film may derive from the fact that this is a vanity affair; the lead actors are also the producer (Mattison) and director (Brian Austin Green). Producer/star Mattison plays an oh-so-adorable despite her all-too-human-faults actress. (Yes, that's right; actress Mattison plays an actress -- there's a stretch!). Director/actor Green plays the noble good guy actor (yes, the actor Green plays an actor -- lots of thespian stretching here), who wins Mattison's heart in the end.
Much of this film seems devoted to showing how adorable Jenna Mattison is, what with her huge smile, and constant laugh, and the sunset casting her and Green aglow. Yes, she is adorable (up to a point), but it gets annoying after a while. We get the sense that this film was produced as a calling card/showcase for Mattison. Something to show the industry that she should be upgraded from stage and indie films to big studio romantic comedies.
And yes, Green does a good job as the nice guy actor. He's almost believable throughout. I stopped believing when he started rolling up his sleeves to punch out Rowe for cheating on Mattison. I mean, Mattison is not Green's girlfriend (yet), plus Rowe is Green and Mattison's director (and no actor wants to lose a job), plus Rowe looks bigger and tougher than Green, plus it's been established that Rowe is far more the "alpha male" than Green, plus Green was smiling (actually looking giddy) as he rolled up his sleeves. But again, Green was directing the actual film, and he probably wanted to cast himself looking tough, so he forgot the character he was playing. That happens in vanity films.
In the end, Mattison decides that she's not meant to be an actress. After videotaping the Bag Lady, Mattison decides that her calling to is tour the US, videotaping people's stories, maybe create a video documentary, while she "finds herself." Actually, roving video documentarian is not much more of a stable career goal than actress. It's pretty much what Winona Ryder's character was doing in REALITY BITES -- before she matured at the end of the film. So FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE has a pretty silly ending, as we're supposed to believe that Mattison has now grown in some way. As far as I can tell, she's still stuck where she was in her life. She's only changed her medium, not her life.
For some reason, some film websites claim Vanessa Marcil is in this film. I assume it's because Mattison looks like a cross between Marcil and Julia Roberts (she has Roberts's wide, huge, collegen-grin -- see for yourself on the DVD cover). Or maybe it's because Green and Marcil had a child in real life (according to this DVD's special features). Anyway, Marcil is not in this film.
This is an okay film. I'd have given it an average three stars, except that I've already seen it so many times before."
Funny and Raw
Carmen Jones | Seattle, Wa | 03/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was intrigued by the title so I bought this and I have to say that the first half was pretty quirky and funny and I thought it would just be a fluffy movie about dating but the second half was raw and had alot of intense emotion and the lead character's insecurieties made me relate to her. I thought all the actors gave solid preformances but I loved Jules & Vicki's friendship the best and the dialogue was really snappy and witty. Overall, totally enjoyable!"