CHOOSE ME (director/writer: Alan Rudolph; cinematographer: Jan Kiesser; editor: Mia Goldman; cast: Keith Carradine (Mickey), Geneviève Bujold (Dr. Nancy Love), Lesley Ann Warren (Eve), Rae Dawn Chong (Pearl), Patrick Bauchau (Zack Antoine), John Larroquette (Billy Ace), Edward Ruscha (Ralph Chomsky), John Considine (Dr. Ernest Greene); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Carolyn Pfeiffer/David Blocker; MGM Home Entertainment; 1984)
“Ultimately it rang hollow, though always diverting and stylishly cool.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This oddball original comedy-drama directed and written by Alan Rudolph (“Welcome To LA”/”Roadie”/”The Moderns”) is an acquired taste like one has for jazz (the film has a notable moody jazz score like one would find in a lounge). It provocatively presents reality in the fantasy setting of a neon-lit bar in Los Angeles, Eve’s Lounge, that brings together five disparate characters whose lives intertwine ala Altman.
Eve (Lesley Ann Warren) is an attractive 32-year-old jaded bar owner, an ex-prostitute, who shuns permanent commitments because she’s afraid of a bad marriage and lives only for a quick sexual fix. Dr. Nancy Love (Genevieve Bujold) is a sexually frustrated woman who secretly hosts the popular nighttime radio talk show on KCMY as a sex therapist for woman’s romantic problems, but she has little romantic experience despite her profession and even though she can help others she can’t help herself. Nancy poses as Ann to answer an ad to be Eve’s roommate, and the two don’t recognize each other’s voices despite Eve being a regular caller to Nancy’s show (so much for reality!). Mickey (Keith Carradine) is an escaped mental patient who might be a pathological liar or a dangerous sex killer but shows flashes of genius and is obsessed with marriage (married already twice) and returning to his hometown of Las Vegas, and when he becomes a patron of Eve’s Lounge he makes Eve think she’s met her Prince Charming as he poses as LA’s most eligible bachelor. When Eve suddenly plays hard to get and only kisses Mickey without screwing him, Mickey hits it off with bar patron Pearl (Rae Dawn Chong). Her French husband Zack (Patrick Bauchau) is screwing Eve, which makes Pearl an unhappy wife. The best thing Pearl says about her brutish philandering hubby is ”Even though he roughs me up, at least he cares enough to do it.” Getting Eve’s home address from Pearl, Mickey ends up screwing Ann when Eve is out and he comes calling late at night. This causes a rift between Ann and Eve.
Any hopes of a good story emerging from this after midnight messy romantic situation is never realized, as instead Rudolph is content with playing with the bizarreness of the situation and the characters, keeping it artificially theatrical and talky, exacting a lot of minor details but paying for it by ignoring the main story, and letting it wander all over perverted Adams Street with a few interesting insights about this group of lonely and kooky souls in the big city looking for a love connection. Ultimately it rang hollow, though always diverting and stylishly cool.
REVIEWED ON 5/28/2008 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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