Anything But Love

-

Anything But Love

Cast:

After a yearlong run on the regional festival circuit, the music-themed comedy Standard Time is making the jump to arthouse distribution with a title change possibly designed to piggyback on the similarly colorful, retro-styled Down With Love. Director Robert Cary and his co-writer/star Isabel Rose are pitching their renamed Anything But Love as a throwback night at the movies for the kind of grown-up couples who patronize classy regional theaters (where Cary and Rose spent the past decade polishing their talent). Rose plays a cabaret singer who headlines at a seedy hotel lounge and waits tables to pay her drunken, depressed mother's bills. When Rose runs into old high-school crush Cameron Bancroft, now a corporate lawyer, each half of the couple seems to be the answer to the other's prayers: Bancroft needs to start a family so he can demonstrate stability and get promoted at work, and Rose needs money. She's able to overlook Bancroft calling her "babe" and belittling her musical ambitions, until she meets roguish, fidgety pianist Andrew McCarthy, who gives her music lessons, inspires her to develop a less imitative singing style, and captures her heart. Anything But Love is predictable and corny, but to their credit, Cary and Rose strive to make the situation real. Aside from some stylish fantasy interludes, the film isn't overly exaggerated, and the choices Rose faces stay believable: She can support her love of classic pop by getting a gig on a cruise line, or by singing at dinner parties thrown by a rich husband. Still, while Anything But Love starts strong and contains a handful of knockout scenes–most notably a snazzy split-screen makeover, as well as a moment where Eartha Kitt offers Rose some sobering advice–the swoony music and elegant costumes can't disguise the film's weak plotting. The problem with the film is that its vision of classic Hollywood melodrama is primarily conceptual, and far more chaste than its source material. Sex cast a shadow over even the frothiest studio product of the '50s, but it's scarcely implied in Anything But Love, a film that's pleasant but fatally spunk-free.

More Movie Review