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I Love Your Work
(One for Ribisi and one for Ricci)
Starring: Giovanni Ribisi, Christina Ricci, Franka Pontente, and Marisa Coughlin
Directed/co-written etc By: Adam Goldberg

 

 

 

Bluntly speaking? I Love Your Work is riddled with the ying and yang of indie filmmaking. On one hand you've got the jewel-encrusted mankabob of talent, Giovanni Ribisi aside a delightfully cheery and radiant Christina Ricci - a duo of dangerously talented youngins. On the other side you've got neo-director Adam Goldberg head-to-toeing into many of the pratfalls found in afirst time director's mock Wellesian - that-guy's-no-Huston - me-factor faux pas film makers's (who also co-wrote, co-produced, co/helped score, slips in an awkward "cameo" or TWO and who, of course, is himself an actor…puke) portfolio.

Story goes… Gray Evans (Ribisi) is a mega movie star - think Tom Cruise or Jim Carrey (yeah, I know, but Gio nearly even pulls off this great endeavor). As this walking poster-child of "The Blockbuster Boxoffice Boy," Gray is recognized everywhere he goes and hounded by the press - living in that fishbowl fame offers as a reward to a few the upper-echelon of the few sprinkled high in the stratosphere of stardom. Heck, the beau even managed to accessorize with an arm-n-eye candy babe of the Kidman-Garner-Lopezesque cut diamond-sort for a wife. Her name is Mia Lang (Franka Potente), and she's on that downward career spiral - losing acting jobs to the emaciated horse teethed, mini-waisted bobble-headed barely twenties the studios prefer as leading ladies in high-dramas…

She's not a happy Harriett.

Gray starts to unravel as the pressure of the whole gig becomes a tad overwhelming - he even has acquired a stalker (Jason Lee).

When he slips into a small video store to escape his card-carrying fanatic, he meets a couple John and Jane (Joshua Jackson and Marisa Coughlin). He dismisses them at first, but then their sweet as pecan pie relationship starts to awaken his guilt demons….

Enter his emotional conscience. Seems Mr. Megastar had this perfect-doting-he's the ray of her life girly-girl (Christina Ricci) some time ago (not the same girl - but that whole "pure love" deal). Gray decides fame, stardom, and Mia Lang were more suited to the red carpets of the world then some average gal.

Now, that John and Jane come into his focus he starts to obsess about their "perfect" relationship. (snore)

We watch as Evans' mind takes over his ability to be rational - his press agents and crew of helpful handlersstart to work over time with his celebrity shenanigans…but even they (who are what you'd call paid friends and his self absorbed fading-star wife, are oblivious to the perilous line 'tween sanity and one of his own scripts that he's tight wiring - with a full orchestra accompaniment - right in front of them.

Giovanni Ribisi is remarkable. Though he's probably 5' 5" - Marx Brothers meets James Cagney petite - he can almost play a megastar of Orlando Bloomian stature. The difference and the flaw here is his incredible talent. Giovanni has that gift of handing in layered, dark, instantly jovial and always moving - even when still - performances, acting schools worldwide try to teach. But, he's too animated, nay, deep, to be a groomed pop-iconic megastar - and frankly too cute vs. sexy and prepackaged. Apparently, he's the director's friend - viola! A great talent is miscast. Joshua Jackson, as "Jake" the indie-favorite stamp-role of the video clerk film maker wanna be, is just milktoast among the others - we'll see what he serves up next time eh? Jason Lee oozes creepy as the "stalker."

Christina Ricci is wonderful as the "ex." You keep hoping the film will switch tracks entirely to her story…Marisa Coughlin, who plays "Jane," can go either way. She's got the looks to be the next Kidman-Garner-Lopezesque, and if she prefers, the talent to take a more Lili Taylor Catherine Keener approach.Franka just expels spoiled Diva - can't blame her. Remember when you have nothing nice to say? Blame the director.

I Love Your Work just kind of seems like a group of friends sick of Hollywood's "machine" of creativity and development decided to make a psychological wanna-be visceral tell all-ish, from the point of view of the poor megastar. Interwoven artsy flashbacks (sans voice over) simply have you wondering and often confused - right up to the viciously unbelievable ending - though extremely played put by Ribisi; who really does (pardon the boring metaphor) make lemonade out of a lemon - crème brulee from turning cream. Goldberg may be better next time - he just seems to have let ego stand in the way of sharing his vision with the rest of us here - the Elvis Costello bits are case-in-point for example…whadthefu?

Snack recommendation: grilled Seabass and a fine merlot


 

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