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Lovesick DVD Review

Lovesick (2015) movie poster Lovesick

Theatrical Release: February 6, 2015 / Running Time: 85 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Director: Luke Matheny / Writer: Dean Young

Cast: Matt LeBlanc (Charlie Darby), Ali Larter (Molly Kingston), Adam Rodriguez (Jason Kerwick), Ashley Williams (Felicia Clark), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Nancy Kerwick), Carsen Warner (Timmy Clark), Connie Sawyer (Nana Bebe), Cameron Richardson (Michelle Harrington), Richard Riehle (Father), Jennifer Rhodes (Mother), Rachael Harris (Roberta), Kristen Johnston (Katherine), Chevy Chase (Lester Horn)

Buy Lovesick from Amazon.com: DVD Instant Video

"How YOU doin'?"

If the signature question of Joey Tribbiani was asked of the six stars of "Friends" not as a pick-up line but as a genuine query about the current status of their careers, they would all have very different answers. Jennifer Aniston has been doin' quite well as a movie star in major comedies; she's had flops, but also a number of hits and even picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her dramatic performance in Cake. At the other end of the spectrum, David Schwimmer has basically disappeared from the limelight; apart from voicing Melman the giraffe in DreamWorks' Madagascar films and shorts,
Schwimmer has been directing films and TV. He'll also portray Robert Kardashian in the O.J. Simpson trial-focused first season upcoming FX anthology "American Crime Story." Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow have both had some ups and downs on television, while Matthew Perry has repeatedly failed to get renewed on three different shows (his fourth try, CBS' "The Odd Couple" remake, broke his losing streak with its recent renewal announcement).

Matt LeBlanc was the only Friend unwilling to let go of his character at the series' conclusion. Joey got his own spin-off, though one that now seems like an instant laughingstock despite running two full seasons on NBC. Since then, LeBlanc rebounded with "Episodes", Showtime's critically acclaimed comedy which sees him playing a version of himself, a role for which he won his first Golden Globe. Currently in its fourth season, "Episodes" was truly a comeback vehicle for LeBlanc, whose only other post-"Joey" credits were guest starring on Kudrow's "Web Therapy." Now, LeBlanc picks up his first feature film credit since 2003, when he reprised the role of Jason Gibbons in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

Lovesick premiered at the Newport Beach International Film Festival in April 2014 and supposedly received a super limited theatrical release along with VOD availability in February 2015. But it will not revive the actor's film career which peaked with 1998's Lost in Space, famous only for being the film to finally bump Titanic to second place at the weekend box office.

Principal Charlie Darby (Matt LeBlanc) lets school out early to construct this taste of Thailand for his girlfriend in "Lovesick."

Lovesick stars LeBlanc, who continues to embrace his surname follicly, as Charles Winston Darby, the principal of an elementary school in San Pedro, California. As his friend Jason (Adam Rodriguez) explains in narration, Charlie has been unlucky in love, but that's because being in love turns him psychotic. The white-haired fortysomething, respected by his community, has a history of relationships that went south over absurd accusations born out of Charlie's extreme jealousy.

This is basically the same plot as Mr. Jealousy, the late-'90s romantic comedy that stands as writer-director Noah Baumbach's weakest movie to date. Charlie's condition, serious enough for a recent ex (Cameron Richardson) to have written about for a scientific report, creates all kinds of challenges for the principal when he softens his stance on only dating the kind of women he can never fall in love with (like an oversharing racist played by Rachael Harris).

The potentially serious new love interest is Molly Kingston (Ali Larter), an '80s cover band singer who is looking for a substitute position at Charlie's school, where her 9-year-old nephew attends. Pretty and seemingly perfect, Molly nonetheless inspires more of the outrageous delusions that have undone Charlie's past romances. When she takes a spontaneous trip, he stalks her activity on social networks. When she says her grandmother is sick, he has 1,000 cantaloupes sent to her. An extra large men's sweatshirt from the couple's weekend getaway to La Jolla prompts all kinds of suspicion and distrust.

Charlie (Matt LeBlanc) sweats through a date with Molly (Ali Larter) in a World's Best Grandpa sweatshirt.

The feature directing debut of Luke Matheny, who won the Best Live-Action Short Oscar for his black and white 2010 romcom God of Love, Lovesick deserves the marginalization it has gotten from theatrical non-entity Gravitas Ventures and home video-oriented Anchor Bay Entertainment. It's just not a funny or good movie at all. LeBlanc and Larter are charismatic enough in the leads, but the film they are in has basic cable TV movie written all over it, except for the fact that, while unsubmitted to the MPAA, it would earn a soft R for its sporadic profanity.

Lovesick also marks the feature film debut for its writer Dean Young, though he has honed his skill over 25 years in television comedy, where he has written and produced the likes of "Mad About You", "King of the Hill", and "Community." Penning 21-minute scripts for shows whose characters have been established and extensively developed is a much different task than writing a complete, self-contained narrative.
The latter challenge eludes Young, who is unable to imbue any of these people with sympathy or dimension. Lovesick has the stink of something that has been punched up in post-production, with Jason's narration, some freeze frames, and a few plays with linearity desperately trying to jazz up something that can't be jazzed.

The supporting cast offers minimal help. Particularly flat is Chevy Chase playing an old man who frequently crashes Charlie's place to eat cereal and watch porn. It is awfully tough to believe that this old man was once the world's biggest comedy movie star.

Lovesick's failings extend to its poster/cover art, whose central image looks like a baked potato doll emblazoned with "I Love You Mate" and not the stuffed kangaroo with its head ripped off that it is supposed to be.

Lovesick DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Closed Captioned
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $22.98
Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Lovesick sports satisfactory picture and sound on DVD. The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen video isn't the sharpest or most detailed, but that's a low-budget comedy in standard definition from a small studio for you. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is not lacking in any noticeable way, except when compared to lossless high definition audio.

That may look like a baked potato, but it's a really a headless stuffed kangaroo on the main menu of the barebones Lovesick DVD.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Anchor Bay doesn't even bother with a Blu-ray release, putting Lovesick on DVD alone this week.

The barebones DVD includes no extras, apart from disc-opening, menu-inaccessible trailers for Hit by Lightning, Always Woodstock, and Murder of a Cat. For Lovesick's own trailer, you'll probably have to consult the DVDs of those fellow Gravitas/Anchor Bay ventures.

The scored, static menu resembles the cover art, which features in an eco-friendly keepcase with neither inserts nor slipcover.

In "Lovesick", Molly (Ali Larter) and Charlie (Matt LeBlanc) experience the effects of his love-induced psychosis.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

A single look at the cover art of Lovesick is probably enough to warn you to stay away. That said, it's very rare to find Matt LeBlanc playing a character other than Joey Tribbiani and "himself", giving this project some value for those who have missed the "Friends" star as well as those who'd like to see Ali Larter be the leading lady she too rarely is. If neither of those descriptions fit you, it's tough to foresee you deriving any enjoyment from this guiltlessly skipped romcom.

Buy Lovesick from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video

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Reviewed May 17, 2015.



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