The internet has brought us so many wonderful things. If you're a wealthy first-worlder (and lets face it: you're reading a blog right now, so you are), technology is ubiquitous in your daily life. At-home shopping, Hulu, and schadenfreude on a mass scale are all but a few of the things I enjoy via my eMac. But did you know that the internet sometimes is used by people for dating? And sometimes those people have wacky misadventures? And sometimes those wacky misadventures have sexy results? I'm going to be honest- I lack the mental and physical stamina to return to DietTribe right now. But since I was laid out with a sinus infection this weekend, I took the chance to check out the streaming movies on MyLifetime.com. Perfect Romance is the story of a creepy mother, a flaky daughter, a bargain-basement befuddled Englishman, and their adventures with online personal ads. Because everyone loves it when their mom uses the internet.
The movie starts with a mother and daughter team sitting in a pastoral New England landscape and playing "He loves me, he loves me not" with some flowers. But uh-oh, someone taught Mom the wrong rules, because every petal is "he loves me not"! If that actually makes you laugh, you will be utterly charmed by the humor in this film. If not, I have some bad news for you. Meanwhile, at an equally scenic airport, an English guy named Peter gets off of a plane with a fist full of tulips and runs at a glowingly happy young lady waiting for him at the gate. Oh no! He trips and flowers go everywhere! Naturally, she decides that she is not in love with him beause he can't walk in a straight line without falling over and flinging stuff at everyone around him. Also, she is a flaky ditz, because a Lifetime movie that doesn't endorse a negative stereotype about women is not allowed to exist.
Back to the mother-daughter act. Mama Tess's husband left her to start a store called Mantiques with his new boyfriend. She apparently can never trust again, but who hasn't had at least one boyfriend go gay on them? Suck it up, Tess. Daughter Jenny is still crazy-in-love with her retarded rock star ex-husband who sweeps in for a couple hours at a time, makes her giggle and twist her hair, plays catch with his annoying son, and then leaves her for the exciting dilettante lifestyle enjoyed by shitty cover band frontmen in New Hampshire. Tess can't deal with the pain of her grandson not having a "proper" father, so she is prepared to take DRASTIC STEPS. If you can't guess what those steps are, you're in the target audience for this film. You are also as dumb as a kitten.
So the English guy is named Peter Campbell, and he is in the US to teach freshman literature on his sabbatical from whatever the fuck he does in England. (Note: if you are on sabbatical, wouldn't you not be teaching?) He can't find love because of his charming Englishness, which prevents him from talking to women without offending them by implying that soccer is better then football or that blood pudding isn't disgusting or other Englishy things. In despair, he asks another recent UK transplant how he met his current wife. His reply is so great I'm just going to give it to you verbatim: "One day I got so lonely I typed "love" into the search box of my computer. This match website came up, and I found her on there, and it was love at first sight!". Out of curiosity, I tried this with Google. I got a Wikipedia article on love, news about Jennifer Love Hewitt, a WikiHow about how to love that must be read to be believed, and an advertisement for the Beatles-themed LOVE show at The Mirage in Vegas. I guess it's a good thing that the guy didn't use Google, or else he would have ended up seeing Cirque De Solieil.
The movie then gives us a fun montage of lonely people doing lonely things. Mom, daughter, and Peter all eat alone, walk around alone, watch TV alone, and are just overwhelmingly lonely all the time. I'm surprised we didn't see someone riding the front end of an otherwise-passengerless tandem bike while bawling their eyes out. Peter is finally overcome with despair when he cannot find a TV channel that doesn't show kissing, fondling, or fingerbanging (ok not really). He gets onto a match website and begins scanning the profiles. He is soon overwhelmed by this weird, Carnival of Souls-like parade of angry chanting voices and faces that make him black out. That shit is why I stopped using OKCupid, so I can relate. Anyway, he wakes up and sees Jenny's ad and of course it is love at first sight. They spend the next couple of weeks corresponding about how much they love horticulture, poetry, and other effete boring things. Of course, the crazy twist is that Tess set up the ad and is handling all the correspondence, leaving Jenny none-the-wiser! You think a woman who got dumped by her husband for a mantiques dealer would be gun-shy around a guy who loves Keats and flowers, but apparently Tess is so into the dude that she invites him to spend the weekend at their place. He agrees, and all of a sudden we're on a collision course with elaborately staged wackiness!
From here, the movie just gets even more embarrassing. Tess informs her daughter that she's been impersonating her on the internet for months, and Jenny is pissed until she finds out the website photo of her has some bangin' clevage and Peter's a hottie. Then she's over it. Peter shows up and immediately starts complimenting Tess in a creepy-ass way while still feigning interest in Jenny. Jenny spends the next forever of the movie trying to woo Peter away from her mom by acting like an extra in a high school production of Lady Windermere's Fan in order to convince him she's got an ounce of culture in her ugly little body. But it doesn't work because she's fun! and cool! and says "awesome" a lot! and loves Kerouac! and has a tattoo! and is more annoyingly funky then Clarissa Explains it All! It's clear to Jenny that this relationship wont work out, but she knows that Peter will stick out the weekend because he is super-polite. She cruelly strings him along for a while to further the plot.
Meanwhile it becomes obvious that Tess is in love with Peter, doing such increasingly creepy things as leaving a book on his bed with a rose, constantly bringing him snacks when he is sleeping, tagging along on Jenny and Peter's one date, and leaving a post-it-note on his remote control to tell him when a soccer match is on TV then showing up in her jammies to watch it with him. She is two steps away from bunny-boiling nuts about him. This is not lost on Jenny, so she keeps setting up opportunities for them to spend time together. She even fakes an affair with a guy who works at Tess's flower shop in order to make Peter give up on her. He does, so then he's free for Mom! Hey, Peter only kissed her daughter once, so it isn't creepy. Right?
Now, let's say that you travel across the country in order to meet your online sweetheart. You spend some time with her, and despite the fact she's constantly misquoting poetry and crying for no reason, you try and stick it out. Then you find out she's cheating on you. Then you find out that you actually were chatting with her mother the entire time you were corresponding, and the whole weekend is an stupid farce to trick you into being some kid's dad until he's old enough to go to college. Now the mother of the person you have been trying to get into bed for 3 days is throwing herself at you. Would you:
a. Call the police
b. Punch her in her lying goddamn face
c. Jump in the car, drive far away, and never trust again
d. Pledge eternal love and devotion to a crazy person that lives thousands of miles from everything you hold dear
If you picked d, you've used online personals before.
Oh, and Jenny dumps her shitheel ex and hooks up with the guy from the flower shop. It isn't interesting, but that's the end, so there you are.
There are two awesome moments in this film. The first is the "search box" line, and the second is when a girl Peter is hitting on says "Our football is sex, war, and chess all rolled into one". That's it. There's also a part where Tess says that Neil Armstrong's moon landing destroyed the moon for romance, and I thought the movie might turn into a crazy alternate-history action flick about the moon blowing up. Then I realized that was a metaphor and I hated the movie even more.
Star Power: 6
Kathleen Quinlan (Tess) starred in a weekly CBS procedural drama called Family Law, which I know fuck-all about, so good for her. Lori Heuring (Jenny) did a little better, starring in approximately two-million direct-to-video horror films and making #64 on Maxim's Hot 100 list for an unspecified year. Her mother must be very proud. But holy shit- Peter is played by Desmond from Lost! We'll give them an extra couple points for that.
DAMN, GIRL. Literally the entire movie hinges upon a middle-aged mother fixing everyone's lives by being so fucking meddlesome and intrusive that they cannot help but bend to her will. Also, Tess hooks up with a hot English guy that is significantly younger then her because she has such a "beautiful mind". The women are always right, even when they are deeply obviously wrong, and the only positive male figure in the movie loves roses and poetry. This could not be more of a lady movie if it had a product placement sequence with Tampax, Yoplait, and Summer's Eve.
I am still docking this movie a point because it didn't have a kindly black cop or a no-nonsense lesbian cop. They could have fit one in if they'd tried.
So that's 21. It's worthwhile for a high cheese factor, but it's painful to watch. Speaking of pain; I promise I will watch DietTrbe again soon. But not today.
(Brief Rusty edit: I reviewed Perfect Romance as well. Read my take on events here.)