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IN SHORT: A tale of love and circumstance, deliciously real and touching.
I honestly never thought I'd see the day when I'd sit down at the keyboard and type out words of praise for a movie starring Denis Leary. Which is why I'm writing this at night. Makes it all the more easy to do.
Love Walked In features Leary in a role that, to be honest, could best bedecribed as what Leary could have become ten years down the line had he not found an audience that thought his work funny. This is how it plays out...
Alcoholic and on the wagon, cigarette still Krazy Glued between his lips Jack Morrisey (Leary) is content with his life as a lounge pianist, albeit a sarcastic one, solely because his life is touched by the angel that us guys dream of. His wife Vicky (Aitana Sanchez Gijon) sings the Gershwin songs he plays, encourages his feeble attempts to write his own and supplies the support and the passion that Jack needs until things get better.
But they don't 'cuz Jack can't keep his mouth shut. He mocks his audience and gets the act fired again and again. Then, one night, their performance gains the attention of Fred Moore (Terence Stamp), a wealthy older gentleman who will become a patron. Mrs. Moore thinks he's cheating on her so she's hired a detective, an old friend of Jack's, to get the goods. There are no goods. Fred married into money and he's not dumb enough to screw it up. Literally or figuratively. But he does like the music and he does find Vicky to be more than attractive.
The P.I. is named Eddie (Michael Badalucco). He proposes a plan, in which Vicky seduces Fred. A kiss or an embrace or the whole four-bagger; just enough to fill a couple of frames of film. Either Mr. Moore will pay off big to keep it quiet or Mrs. Moore will pay off bigger for divorce evidence. The idea is ridiculous. We all know the rich have resources that can really mess our lives up, but Jack asks Vicky and Vicky will do what Jack asks and that's all you need to know of this tale.
If the stereotype of a blue-collar relationship stoking more passion than a white-collar one is operative here, it doesn't shove itself in your face. Each character you meet, from the lounge's bouncer and his boss, to the rich wife has their own shade of blue to wear. Leary only slips back into that mile-a- minute blue streak of nasty language only once in his performance. His character has fallen off the wagon and the plans aren't working out the way he expected. Then again, what ever does? What follows is quietly surprising and unexpected.
Terence Stamp plays his character with a quiet dignity that doesn't reflect the lesser money origins of the man. Aitana Gijon smoulders in both body and singing voice. It's a good pair, Leary and Gijon. A good story and, at 90 minutes, just the right length. Cranky spends way too many hours in the dark and has developed a pretty good sense of figuring out where a story is going. In this case, he would love to say he saw it coming, but he can't.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Love Walked In, he would have paid . . .
It ain't a fairy tale. Nor is it the same old same old. If you're negative on Leary based on his rep or past flicks, put it away. Love Walked In is light years beyond what you expect.
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