A Wasted Opportunity
L CAPELLARO | Dorset, United Kingdom | 11/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Anthony Michael Hall has had a mixed career since seminal films like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science shot the young actor to sudden fame in the 1980's. Some notable disasters and one or two gems followed. For the last six years he has been pursuing a career in television, playing Johnny Smith in USA Network's adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone. Hall took time out a few years ago to make the film "Funny Valentine", which has now finally been released on DVD by Xenon Pictures.
Hall often refers to his experiences on The Dead Zone as being "like attending the School For the Leading Man", and on paper Funny Valentine looks like an ideal opportunity for him to capitalise on this. Since growing out of the trademark geekhood of his teenage years, Hall has matured very nicely thank you into an affable, good looking thirty-something with a wealth of working experience, a wide repertoire and a natural talent for character acting. The character of Josh could have been the perfect vehicle for Hall to reinvent himself as Manhattan's answer to Hugh Grant but sadly, with only a couple of exceptions, the other elements of this film are so hopeless that Hall's tidy little performance is doomed to be forever lost in the swampy backwaters of cinematic mediocrity.
With some fairly radical tweaking the film could have been a light and gentle chic-flick but sadly, the writer/director seemed to miss this lucrative target audience by a country mile. Hall's female fan base has burgeoned in the last few years thanks to The Dead Zone but perhaps Funny Valentine was made just before he was `discovered' as a hearth throb. Consequently the film seems to appeal to a small and (hopefully) not-very-representative section of the male population instead. The film is littered with misogynistic and downright sexist scenes; even to the extent of seeing Hall`s mother, jazz singer Mercedes Hall, crop up in a non-speaking part as a myopic man-eating lush who almost hits on her character's own son in a bar! Eww.
Josh's obnoxious friends get far far too much screen time and dialogue, unbalancing the film in a way that was no doubt meant to be witty and ironic, but which I just found irritating. Were it not for the strength Hall's performance as well as that of of the female Marlo Marron, I would basically have fast forwarded through great chunks film. Still, I suppose the elemental unpleasantness of the two male characters (played by Lord Jamar and Larry Storch) means that Hall's portrayal of The Last Decent Single Guy in NYC is all the more convincing.
Technically the film is rather patchy, with a hair in the gate in at least two scenes, poor sound and dialogue that lacked pace. The talking heads were particularly irritating and amateurish and strangely enough Josh never got to tell his version of what "relationship" means. Shame that, as he is supposed to be the central character.
In summary - a must for any Anthony Michael Hall fan but other than that, don't bother."
I really liked this movie!
LyricalPoet23 | 02/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this movie. It is so cute. First off, anyone that grew up in the 80s should love Anthony Michael Hall. He has grown up well, but still has that quirky personality that everyone loves. The movie is great as well because getting set up by friend is never good, but always interesting. I think it is a great movie to watch with your boyfriend or girlfriend."
Jimmy | Norwalk, CA | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The storyline of this movie is not only romantic and sweet but it's also hilarious. I mean Anthony Michael Hall is in the movie, what do you expect? This romantic comedy is basically about the main character Josh played by Anthony Michael Hall who has absolutely "no game" when it comes to women. So his thoughtful single friends decide to give him a makeover and transform him into a wanted eligible bachelor. Despite their endless efforts, Josh is not interested in just any girl-he has his eyes set on Doreen who is out of his league. But nothing stops Josh from getting the girl of his dreams......even if it means just being himself."
Funny Valentine Review
soulprincess3 | Los Angeles, CA, USA | 02/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Funny Valentine is a hilarious and heartwarming look at love, dating, and relationships in the face of fast moving modern life. The laughs start as down on love Josh (Anthony Michael Hall) is pushed out into the dating world by his friends Tim (Lord Jamar) and Sean (Ivan Martin). These two "singles experts" put out a personals ad for their friend and weed through the candidates to set him up with women they think are right for him. However, Josh goes against their advice in pursuing Doreen (Marlo Marron), a beautiful single mother. With its heartfelt laughs and biting observations about the single life, this movie is like a cross between "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Sex and the City.""