LOVE WALKED IN
(director/writer: Juan J. Campanella; screenwriters: Lynn Geller/Larry Goldin; cinematographer: Daniel Shulman; editor: Darren Kloomok; cast: Denis Leary (Jack Morrissey), Terence Stamp (Fred Moore), Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (Vicki Rivas), Moira Kelly (Vera), Michael Badalucco (Eddie Bianco); Runtime: 90; Tri-Star Pictures; 1997)
“It just doesn’t deliver the real thing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
What makes a noir film so unique and beautiful is the dark mood it sets, and this comes about due to the credibility of the protagonists and how the audience identifies with them as being the underdog. If that isn’t there you might be like a prostitute faking an orgasm. That’s how I see the problem with this film, it just doesn’t deliver the real thing and therefore everything about this story seems like a sham.
Jack (Denis Leary) is a sardonic cocktail pianist in Long Island’s The Blue Cat Lounge and an amateur writer of pulp novels who thinks he doesn’t have as much in life as he deserves, except for his beautiful wife Vicki (Aitana). She is the sexy torch singer in their act. He tries in his monologue to be mockingly witty with the lounge’s unresponsive audience, seemingly feeling better with himself by putting himself and others down, trying out material on them he uses for the pulp fiction book he is constantly working on. After almost getting fired for this routine by the club’s manager, he is saved by one extremely rich gentleman who digs the act and happens to own the club, Fred (Stamp).
By coincidence, Jack’s sleazy friend from his old neighborhood in the Bronx shows up later on in their house. He is now a private detective, Eddie Bianco (Badalucco), and commiserates with him how things have not gone well in life for both of them; but, things can now change, because do I got a deal for you… !
Basically this film had no tension, it was D.O.A.. The implausibility of the story, didn’t help. Stamp was particularly unconvincing as the gigolo who married the rich woman and who is now not the gigolo he once was. The reason offered for that, is that he is now at a point in his life where he simply doesn’t want to get caught cheating and have to lose a lot of money in a divorce settlement.
Meanwhile Eddie is working for Fred’s wife Vera (Moira) with the hopes of getting some photos of Fred with another woman in a compromising position and since he can’t come up with anything, he suggests that Jack put his wife up to it and they can all collect some good coin by blackmailing him. It should also be noted that Vera as the femme fatale is as cold as an iceberg, maybe even colder.
So, give me a break, if that’s the best plot the scriptwriters Juan Campanella, Lynn Geller and Larry Golin have come up with, they should have watched more carefully how noir films were made on low budgets during the ’40s and ’50s and how important it was for the protagonist to have the audience on his side no matter what he did. The trick to that, is to get a lead who can openly convey his feelings. If you can do that, then even a thin plot like this one has a chance of working.
REVIEWED ON 4/14/99 GRADE: D