9/17/2007

Perfect Opposites

Director: Matt Cooper

Some people get a drastic haircut after the end of a bad relationship, some fall quickly into rebound relationships with the wrong people and others—well-- others such as Matt Cooper keep their Dear John letters and write a play. Ten years after “A Piece of My Heart,” debuted at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, Cooper and the director of the stage production, Stewart J. Zully collaborated on adapting the work into an independent film. Although the story of young love and a man who can’t commit is nothing new and Perfect Opposites was re-rated from its original R rating in the United States and released on DVD as a PG13 film-- a sure sign it never really found its footing and the production company was content to let it find its way into the lives of others by stocking it in Blockbuster and other stores—it’s still a worthwhile and entertaining date movie. Best suited for the twenty-something set looking for appropriate fare for an evening in and one that could lead to interesting relationship discussion afterwards (be forewarned!), the movie stars Martin Henderson and Piper Perabo as a couple who, after a whirlwind courtship during their final year of college (his in law school and hers in her undergraduate program), pack up and move out to Los Angeles where Henderson’s Drew Curtis has a job waiting for him in Joe Pantoliano’s entertainment law firm, thanks to his coworker sister Kathleen Wilhoite’s connections. While Drew struggles to study for the bar and accept his new position, trying to deal with the ego of his boss and suck up to a famous actor he meets while running a work related errand, Perabo’s Julia never really finds her footing, existing in that post-grad funk of trying to discover her own needs and what she wants in life as she tries to find a job. Julia and Drew become fast friends with Elyse and Lenny Steinberg (Jennifer Tilly and Artie Lange) a slightly older, married couple who live nearby and help provide moral and friendly support in getting Julia a job and being a shoulder to cry on as the two young lovebirds realize that they have different priorities to which (while being gender stereotyped as Julia nests and Drew’s eye wanders) many young couples can relate. Unfortunately, even the wonderful supporting cast of the scene-stealing Tilly and Wilhoite, along with lovely leading lady Perabo can’t help make us forget the fact that Drew’s character is immensely unlikable and we wonder why Julia is even bothering to continue the relationship only thirty minutes into the film. While it gets bonus points for not having a protracted happy ending and instead having a finale that (while admittedly cutesy) seems to fit the characters and situations a bit more logically than the typical “run down the block” or “chase to the airport” scenes we’re confronted with again and again in typical Hollywood romantic fare. Entertaining but overall, nothing we haven’t seen before—still worth it for fans of the actors or lovers of romantic comedy/dramas.