It Is The Cast That Sells This Crude Romantic Comedy
Danielle Turchiano | Van Nuys, CA United States | 02/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Charlie Loventhal's "Meet Market" jumps right into the action in his no-frills comedy about a group of L.A. singles who troll the supermarket on Saturday nights to hook up. Breaking the fourth wall, his characters introduce themselves as they stand in their pre-chosen aisles, surrounded by the items that make them feel the most comfortable, allowing their eyes to stray in brief moments from the camera lens to patrol those passing by, setting the tone that as much as they may talk about wanting to find love, they have wandering attention spans. "Meet Market" is a story about awakenings for its many, many characters, who all want basic things out of life but go about searching for them in the wrong places.
To an outsider, it seems nearly impossible that in a metropolis as large as Los Angeles, every other person could work in the entertainment industry, but spend a day here, and you'll see that this town truly does run on the blood, sweat, and tears of filmmakers. "Meet Market" uses that city-specific quirk to its advantage, creating laugh out-loud jabs at the ridiculousness that often comes out of such people's mouths, most notably that of Hutch (Julian McMahon, who also Executive Produced). He is the stereotypical self-absorbed actor--a soap opera star, no less-- who loves to hear himself talk, a trait which McMahon pulls of with such ease it is like he has had years of experience to pull from and dozens of cast members to mimic. He thinks everything that pours out of his mouth is purely philosophical, even when his pearls of wisdom include: "An actor is only as good as his teeth." Somehow (perhaps because he never wears a shirt), he still manages to rope in two intelligent women of substance, creating the very soap opera staple of a love triangle.
Aisha Tyler is one of those women as Jane, the self-proclaimed "kooky" character who dresses like a librarian (complete with the pointy glasses), uses words like "poopy," and sprays air freshener in sporadic bursts while she still sits on the toilet. Her knack for comedy is at its best here, playing something of a "stars in their eyes" simpleton to her best friend Lucinda (Krista Allen)'s more sardonic, jaded realism (even when thrown into absurd situations). In another actress' less capable hands, Lucinda's blunt nature ("I tell it like it is," as she puts it with an unapologetic shrug) could come off as overly aggressive and offensive, but Allen's natural down-to-Earth demeanor lends itself well to a character who is as free in spirit as she is with the F word. There is some question as to how these two opposites became friends in the first place, but as the film goes on, they learn about themselves, each other, and their friendship as much as we learn about them, and they rub off on each other in obvious ways.
"Meet Market" is the type of cheeky, slightly crude romantic comedy that countless young filmmakers attempt to make in just as many variations, but what makes "Meet Market" unique and ultimately successful is it's amazing-- and large-- cast of "That Guy" actors: you will surely recognize their faces from tons of Television Guest Star roles, even if you don't know their names. Without such talent in place, the majority of the subtler, drier humor would undoubtedly be lost and the shock value stuff would be over the top. The extremely underrated Alan Tudyk once again shines as Danny, the screenwriter who uses his art to try to get laid, going on a string of dates that start out with potential but quickly spiral downhill. Missi Pyle is one such woman, as a hash-sniffing sexual predator who resorts to taunting him when he doesn't want to sleep with her... as is Jennifer Sky, the weight-obsessed woman he picks up at said supermarket. He spends the majority of the film digging advice out of his trainer (Laurie Holden) but can't quite grasp the deep intimacy that has been right there in front of him this whole time. Elizabeth Berkley redeems herself quite nicely from Showgirls purgatory as Linda, the doe-eyed small-town hopeful who believes every "You've got what it takes" she hears from men who just want to get her on the casting couch... until one such meeting takes a wrong turn, and she finds salvation in a new power. Susan Egan is Tess (and Christine Estabrook is her mom)--an existential drone who embarks on an impetuous relationship that for the first time makes her really feel alive, only to realize she still needs more.
Though "Meet Market" features some physical comedy and fun with adult-themed props, Loventhal is never hokey. His characters are in-your-face in the way strong individuals need to be, but his seasoned cast makes sure of that, as no strangers to independent film, make sure to keep them grounded. Thankfully Loventhal trusts his actors enough to rely on them to carry the story, instead of using crazy camera movement or odd staging to draw interest. He lingers on his actors' images--ones that are so saturated, they may as well be oil paintings--and allows their expressive faces to say it all. "Meet Market" is one straight-to-DVD release that deserves to be plucked quickly from its shelves."
G. Giordano | Rancho Park, CA usa | 02/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must say, I didn't think I was going to like this flick. I'm not usually the romantic comedy type...(haven't seen one since some dumb Hugh Grant thing with two other couples.) But this was acutally-dare I say-funny. It's kinda not like any other movies out there which is was what made it easy to watch. The Hutch guy was a killer character. I don't really know who he is but he's a hoot. And the whole idea was interesting. Meet next to the meat... Now every time I go to the supermarket I look around and try to fiure out what's really hitting on who.
Excellent fun film
Jenny Andrews | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so happy to have bought this title - it's a total fun, cute ride. What a gem! :)"