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Johnny Love

Johnny Love

John Cusack's back, re-creating the lovelorn, music-obsessed "guy" oozing cerebral sexiness and slouchy integrity we've seen him inhabit in Say Anything and Grosse Pointe Blank. This time he's Rob - an indie record store owner who's lost his live-in love Laura (Mifune's Iben Hjejle). Rob can't figure out exactly why Laura's out the door, so he embarks on a mental pilgrimage of sorts, re-hashing past relationships to figure out what went wrong. In a fit of romantic angst, Rob plunges into the pain and sorrow of his top five worst heartbreaks, from elementary school right on up to Laura, questioning each disaster like he's just woken up from an adolescent nightmare.

Wake up, Rob! You're, what, 28 now? Get a clue! But that's just the point. The film (based on Nick Hornby's best selling novel) eschews romantic ideals for a truer, more disconcerting look at love. Rob rambles on confession-style to the audience as he re-visits old girlfriends, plays the screaming mediator to his hilariously quirky, bickering, Abbot and Costello-like .ployees Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), successfully does the rebound one night stand thing with a gorgeous singer (Lisa Bonet) who thinks that sex is a "basic human right," all the while searching out the answer to his heartbreak.

Rob's deluded sense of the past (imagining all women as either heartless fiends or angelic goddesses etc, etc…) keeps him from growing up and having a successful relationship - not exactly an exaggeration of a typical, clueless male in his mid-20's, huh? Cusack's done this schtick before, and unfortunately there's a vague feeling of "been there, done that" permeating High Fidelity. Director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters) doesn't seem to have a great grip on the material, so some of the scenes play awkwardly - especially between Rob and Laura, whose relationship is too bland to make anyone really care about its fate.
Even so, Cusack's still hard to resist, and there are some hilarious scenes (Tim Robbins camping it up as a sleazy sensitive pony tail man, Joan Cusack as the steadfast friend, making lines as s.ple as "that's shocking" sound like comic genius) that make High Fidelity a casual romp that's well worth watching.



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High Fidelity
rated R
1 hour 53 minutes

John Cusack
Jack Black
Lisa Bonet
Joan Cusack
Beverly D'Angelo
Sara Gilbert
Lili Taylor

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