Blind Dating

There are ways of making low budget romances that don’t resort to cheap tricks involving physical disabilities and cultural misunderstandings. Unfortunately this movie forgoes all those methods and instead traffics in stereotypes of the blind and employs the most generic cross-cultural romance. Only the most loyal Chris Pine and Anjali Jay fans should subject themselves to this one, and even that is suggested with extreme caution.

The supposedly endearing premise focuses on Danny (Chris Pine), a sensitive, virginal, Casablanca-loving but sightless bloke whose love life would infinitely improve if only he could see. His gregarious brother Larry (Eddie Kaye Thomas) lends a hand by way of his limo service and some dubious female contacts. Larry sets up his brother with a string of nutty women who exhibit varying degrees of pity, much to Danny’s annoyance. He’d rather a normal, if empathetic, girl and finds one in Leeza (Anjali Jay), the new receptionist at his doctor’s office. Their budding relationship hits a major and convenient snag though in the form of her impending arranged marriage with a man (Sendhil Ramamurthy) she doesn’t particularly love. Danny, however, thinks he’s been rejected because he’s blind, thus compromising his emotional readiness for an experimental operation that might allow him limited sight. He proceeds with the surgery anyway and his vision is briefly restored. He soon experiences some setbacks, but not before realizing that Leeza is the woman he loves.

For a love story, this movie doesn’t break much emotional ground, relying on caricature rather than character. The conflicts sometimes feel tedious, as with the dating scenes, and always feel gimmicky. Everything centers around Danny’s blindness, from the supposedly laughable – running into trees, spilling wine on his date, wearing mismatched clothing – to the comically offensive. Is the presence of a psychiatrist (Jane Seymour) who regularly strips in front of an unsuspecting Danny funny or even necessary? The cross-cultural romance doesn’t help the movie either; it functions solely as a quick plot device and is left unexplored (to the great disappointment of Sendhil fans).

Chris Pine’s performance is the one redeeming factor in this movie, and he at least tries to wrestle some emotional complexity out of this contrived story. Pine makes a likeable romantic lead; he demonstrates a fine control over his characters, making moments of emotional unrestraint all the more powerful. This script, unfortunately, doesn’t allow for many such scenes. I also like the female lead, Anjali Jay, of Robin Hood fame, but her character suffers from the same inconsistency that plagues the rest of the film.

Released: 2006/Reviewed: 2009

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