Release Date: August 18th, 2006 (AMC Eden Prairie Mall 18 in Eden Prairie, MN, AMC Oakview Plaza 24 in Omaha, NE and Goodrich Quality Theater in Peoria, IL) Cinema Libre Studio.
The Cast: Rachael Leigh Cook, Kenny Doughty, Paul Hopkins, Valerie Mahaffey, Caroline Carver.
Directed by Laurent Firode.
BASIC PREMISE: Nick (Doughty) pretends to be a priest to woo Vanessa (Cook) into his arms from her fiancé, Andre (Hopkins). ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The premise alone sounds like this movie has the potential to be a smart and funny situational comedy, but, in execution, it quickly diminishes. Rachael Leigh Cook, looking as sexy and sizzling as ever, plays Vanessa, a sex-crazed bride-to-be who confesses her fantasies to Nick at a confession booth while she doesn’t know that he’s just a carpenter. Soon enough, he befriends her, falls in love and dresses like a priest. The rest of the film requires the audience to believe that Vanessa and all those around her are actually stupid enough to believe that he’s priest given how seldom he behaves like one. Screenwriter Joan Carr-Wiggin makes Nick into an unlikable character that annoys Vanessa, her fiancé and, worst of all, the audience as well. None of the characters seem particularly believable except one charming, lively character played convincingly by Caroline Carver as Sandy, Nick’s punk sister. If only her character were fleshed out more. Out of all of the attempts at humor, only one scene involving an absurd game of charades generates some laugher. Other attempts simply feel too contrived. Unfortunately, Nick and Vanessa have no chemistry together because it’s difficult to understand what they even see in each other to begin with—other an physical attraction, perhaps, they don’t seem meant to be together. On a positive note, there’s no toilet humor to be found here. Director Laurent Firode, who also directed Happenstance with Audrey Tatou, knows the genre well enough to wisely move the film along at a brisk pace. While the comedy, drama and romance fall flat, at least very few scenes drag. It would have been very beneficial, though, to have a funnier and smarter script to work with.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Contrived and too absurd.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
IN A NUTSHELL: Rachael Leigh Cook sizzles, but the film itself is mostly contrived, absurd and unfunny with dull characters.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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