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Into My Heart

Not Rated , 93 minutes
Starring Jayne Brook, Claire Forlani, Rob Morrow and Jake Weber
Written/Directed by Anthony Stark and Sean Smith
no website

IN SHORT: Too damn precious, even for the intended arthouse circuit

What do you do if you fall in love with your best friend's girl? If stories like these haven't been done to death in movies, they've sure been done to death in rock 'n' roll songs. You'd save a lot of time sticking to worn out CD's by Clapton and The Cars (yeah, I'm dating myself) because Into My Heart will not satisfy on any level. What ticks me off about this flick is its insistence on forcing an open ending to stir discussion after the fact. Like all other arthouse failures it pushes the button that immediately makes its characters behave in unbelievable ways. That's my read. The alternative critique would be that the performances are so understated that a mook like me is left staring at his watch. I think better of actors than that. But I'm still a mook.

Within a minute or so of the film's start, one character has fallen off the side of a old stone tower up in Massachusettes. It may have been an accident. It may have been a suicide attempt. In flashback, we meet and greet our principal players and spend all our time watching the process of character development.

Adam (Jake Weber) and Ben (Rob Morrow) have been friends since nursery school. They went to college together. They were together when Adam saw Nina (Claire Forlani) and was struck down hard. Ben goes west for grad school. Adam and Nina stay east and marry. Ben returns with new flame Kat (Jayne Brooke) on his arm. Two happy, loving couples. So far, so good, if you've got 20/20 hearing 'cuz both men mumble almost every line of dialog. If you make it through that barrier, pay attention. This script is all comfortable friends stuff, and not all that interesting dramatically. Emotionally, except for a line of expository dialog here and there, not much occurs, either. Along the line, Ben makes an advance on Nina and they eventually spend a night in bed together while their partners are out of town doing that workaholic yuppie thing.

Later on down the line, Adam and Ben are reminiscing about childhood memories. Nina interrupts the mumbling and calls Ben a s***thead. This translates in Adam's head as "my wife is sleeping with my best friend" and a man who didn't cry when a fireworks accident blew out his eyeball sheds a single solitary tear at the recognition of betrayal. That's artsy-fartsy pretentious, friends, and this flick is swimming in it. Into My Heart best demonstrates the peril all writer/directors go through on their first film -- they are so familiar with their characters and the inner motives and worlds of the same, that little of these necessary bacground pieces are laid out in front of the audience.

The utter lack of chemistry between Morrow and Forlani strip out any emotional accessibility you might want. It all comes to a head when the film snaps back to "real" time when Morrow offers his sympathy in a manner that should have got his face slapped. The writer/director team choose to go in a different direction, thus enabling your post viewing conversation. Either way, the emotional reactions are so muted, they may as well not be there.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Into My Heart, he would have paid...

$1.00

For Jayne Brook who, as the "outsider" to this intimate trio, delivers the only believable performance in the movie. Even if you live in an arthouse, viewing such a pretentious and precious work is more than you should endure.

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