Saturday, May 26, 2007

LOVEWRECKED - weak but harmless teen rom-com

Doctor007 and I were going to take The Kid to see the exceptionally brilliant BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, but being a chip off the old gene-pool she whined until we caved in and went to see LOVEWRECKED instead. Secretly, I wasn't unhappy. I have a weakness for teen romantic-comedies and let's face it, Chris Carmack a.k.a. Luke from The OC is not unpleasing to the eye even in my frail dotage. Doctor007 however, was looking distinctly peeved.

The plot is suitably ridiculous. The heroine of LOVEWRECKED is a clever high-school girl called Jenny Taylor. True to the formula, she has a hapless best friend called Ryan who's secretly in love with her. She also has an enormous crush on a rock star. When Jenny finds herself shipwrecked on an island with the aforementioned gorgeous rock star she's excited that he'll have the opportunity to get to know her and hopefully fall in love with her. So much so that she forgets to tell him that they actually washed up round the corner from the beach resort.

The movie started out well. Our young heroine is played by the amiable Amanda Bynes - one of the few Hollywood starlets to have genuine comic timing. We also get a nice cameo from the inimitable Fred Willard as her painfully hip (and insanely old) father. But as soon as the action moves to the Caribbean the movie becomes hopelessly mediocre. We get a severely unfunny cameo from Alfonso "Carlton from The Fresh Prince" Ribeiro as an uptight hotel manager. Jason Masters arrives at the resort with an entourage that's basically not as funny as anything in ENTOURAGE. It's especially painful for a British audience to hear Joey Kern's attempt at a cockney accent. I mean, it's not as bad as Dick van Dyke, but that's hardly the benchmark. The central romance rolls along painlessly enough, largely thanks to Bynes' charm and Carmack's looks, but the denouement is not just ridiculous but actively dumb.

It's all a bit rubbish really, and a shame because I keep championing the teen rom-com as good old-fashioned pop entertainment and then this sort of bilge let's me down. It's even more disappointing when you realise that this flick was directed by the same helmer responsible for the cult classic, GREASE!

LOVEWRECKED opened in Russia, the Ukraine, the Philippines, the UAE, Singapore, Thailand and Norway in 2006. It was a TV movie in the US and is available on Region 1 DVD. It's also on release in the UK.

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