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SINGLES(director/writer: Cameron Crowe; cinematographer: Ueli Steiger; editor: Richard Chew; cast: Bridget Fonda (Janet), Matt Dillon (Steve), Campbell Scott (Steve), Kyra Sedgwick (Linda), Sheila Kelley (Debbie), Jim True (David Bailey), Bill Pullman (Dr. Jamison); Runtime: 99; Warner Bros.; 1992)
“The film could be best enjoyed for its soundtrack.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The singles scene in Seattle, the reputed java capital of America and where the grunge rock scene is flourishing, is the ideal setting for this youth oriented sitcom movie. The subject is the search for love. It is the second feature of writer-director Cameron Crowe (Say Anything . . .).

Ithighlights six twentysomething singles, some living in the same apartment complex. It shows them at work and at play, and having bad reactions to being single even though they are attractive and have good personalities. They all either have good jobs or soon will, and most have possibilities for some kind of future relationship. Their singles situation is not that desperate.

The featured couple is Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgwick, who have just met. He works as a city planner, trying to promote his idea for a Seattle rapid-transit system to alleviate traffic congestion; while she works for an environmental group. These two nice yuppies seem a perfect match, but the timing is off. Kyra was just hurt by a smooth-talking Spaniard, a foreign-exchange university student, and Campbell has had bad luck with his former girlfriends; they are both now reluctant to trust someone else.

Bridget Fonda and Matt Dillon are a more interesting pairing. She aspires to be an architect, but is working as a coffeehouse waitress. He is a long-haired singer with a punk rock band who has an inflated opinion of his singing abilities, which is not shared by the music critics. He is hoping for a bigger break while he works in the coffee shop and as a flower deliverer, and his band performs in the local nightspots. They live in the same apartment complex and their romance is one-sided, with Bridget falling head over heel for the self-absorbed rocker. He takes her love for granted as he feels all pumped up when surrounded by groupies, taking on the image of a laid-back musician who can get any woman he wants by being cool and indifferent. When she can’t understand why he is not taken with her, her neighbor Campbell tells her it is probably because he likes busty women. She decides to enlarge her breasts but the plastic surgeon (Bill Pullman) tells her that her breasts are fine. He uses computer-generated graphics to give her a modest breast enlargement, but she argues for the x-large variety. He finally convinces her to get her boyfriend to like her the way she is.

Sheila Kelley’s stock character is sketchy and dull, of one who will do anything to get a man. In her most amusing scene, she decides to go to a dating service and make a videotape of how she wants to present herself. The videographer is “Batman” director Tim Burton. He will produce a video that is guaranteed to attract the kind of man she is not looking for, as she changes her hairstyle and wardrobe and winds up with a completely different look from the real person she is.

The grunge rock scene was fun, the characters were more likable than not, and there was a lot of tenderness for those who get hurt in relationships; but, the film is emotionally too sweet. The director is good at getting at light comedic moments, but has nothing much to say that is more serious. Its whimsical story and cliché characters did not hold my interest. The film could be best enjoyed for its soundtrack, which includes the music of Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam in the background.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”