Romance as a genre is basically the same as sci-fi or aliens and zombies, so author Michael Rothchild (Corey Sevier) reasons. It’s partly why he’s calling it quits as a romance novelist despite having penned a string of best sellers. Editor and fan Dori (Charlotte Sullivan) thinks he still has a few epic love stories in him though, and she gets them both in a bind when she promises to deliver a new Rothchild romance in a month’s time.
Unfortunately, Michael’s enjoying his bachelor lifestyle a bit too much to focus on a whole ass book. Between staying out all night and sleeping in all day, he doesn’t have the energy to write, until Dori reminds him that he’s already spent his advance and the publishing house will come collecting if he doesn’t produce. He feels less sympathy for the fact that his new editor stuck her neck out and vouched for his talent.
Dori finds out too late that her loyalty may have been misplaced and learns that Michael isn’t at all like the charming gentlemen he writes about. Instead, he’s a judgmental, arrogant slob who doesn’t believe in love. He also pecks out his stories on a typewriter, which means she has to stay close by to look at his drafts since he also can’t be bothered to use a scanner. That makes planning her wedding, also a month away, a bit difficult. Luckily her real life dream guy, Philip (Preston Vanderslice doing his best faux Brit accent), hires a wedding planner (Leanne Lapp) to ease the process.
Sevier has a roguish appeal that he deploys with ease, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in more romances. His character, Michael, however, is as unattractive a partner as Philip, who assumes that Dori’s going to quit work and pop out babies after they get married. I’m not hot on the idea that it’s okay to insult and belittle a woman so long as there are profuse apologies and a character 180 in the end. Michael turns on those puppy dog eyes and leans into his sob story, but there’s not much by way of atonement. It’s hard to see why Dori falls for this guy, and the writers just go with the notion that she’s a forgiving romantic at heart. It’s far more believable that he would grow to like her, his only real champion. Sullivan manages a beguiling mix of sweetness and strength, and though Dori takes way too much crap in my opinion, she’s the type that could inspire Michael to change for the better.
There’s another love story in here though and one that feels far more natural. Dori’s best friend, Pam (Christie Laing), seems content to stay in the casual dating phase her whole life. She treats her relationships like a magazine subscription, giving guys a three month trial and then inevitably forgoing renewal. Her latest boyfriend, Tim (Colin Lawrence), sees this for what it is, a way to avoid commitment thus avoid getting hurt. He wants to prove that he’s a class above and gets her to agree on three final dates, after which he’ll bow out if she really wants to end things.
I enjoyed this subplot, in part because I love Laing and think she’s often underused as a supporting player. Here, she finally gets her own storyline and shows that she’s more than a witty sidekick. Pam is as emotionally closed off as Dori is open to love, which is where the story runs into problems. The contrast between the two friends allows us to explore our fanciful ideas of love versus the more practical aspects of it, and while the movie finally settles on a balanced approach, the narrative yo-yos too much to connect the characters in a personal way. Even as Dori and Pam are best friends and work in the same publishing house, they and their relationships feel oddly disjointed from one another. It’s like watching two separate movies that just occasionally intersect.
Dir: Rick Bota
Writer: Matt Marx
Cast: Charlotte Sullivan, Corey Sevier, Christie Laing, Colin Lawrence, Preston Vanderslice, Leanne Lapp, Brittney Wilson, Jill Teed, Debs Howard
Time: 84 min
Country: United States