Anything But Love

"Very Good"

Anything But Love Review


The production values in Anything But Love are primitive, the story is derivative, performances are sometimes awkward and, yet, there's a reason it did well in eight festivals. This courageous film takes itself completely seriously and expresses an ardent vision of its subject: the music and styles of the '50s.

Though it's too limited in scope and budget to be -- as the ad copy would have it -- a celebration of the "style and sensibility of Technicolor musicals," co-writers Robert Cary and Isabel Rose have put together a fairytale story line with a Sweet Home Alabama dilemma: Their heroine has to choose between the rich guy and the dedicated, artistic type; between financial independence and a hazardous career.

Billie Golden (Isabel Rose) is trying to emerge from a regular singing gig at mom's (Alix Korey) admirer Sal's (Victor Argo) struggling club that caters to a senior citizen clientele appreciative of her cool renditions of old standards. Her eyes are for plush nightclubs where pop standards aren't exactly drawing crowds anymore. When she goes up for an audition for a singing gig, Elliot Shepard (Andrew McCarthy), the pianist hired to accompany the singers, sandbags Billie with some uninspired backing, making her look and sound amateurish.

Not to worry, though, because this setup is the cute meet that develops into the struggling but talented Shepard first becoming Billie's piano teacher, then a competitor for her affections. He's up against Billie's old flame Greg Ellenbogen (Cameron Bancroft, Mystery, Alaska), a corporate lawyer from the right side of the country club as knight in shining armor/rescuer from poverty. The trouble is, Ellenbogen has no taste for Billie's music or understanding of her tawdry desire for a career. Once they're married, she can sing for their children and dinner guests. Guess how this is going to go.

In what may be the most predictable movie of the year, we're treated to Rose's impassioned singing with, perhaps, three times too many reiterations of the title song. Besides Rose glamour and McCarthy marquee value, commercial elements include a cameo part for Eartha Kitt who delivers a trademark song and comes up with the meaningful advice that will resonate with Billie at a crucial time.

After writing the script, Robert Cary took his first shot at directing, with Isabel Rose assaying the lead role in a career jump from a minor part in 1994's Forrest Gump, the sole previous credit I could find for her. Owing to her genuine love of the musical form she's highlighting, and to her flame-tressed beauty, we should be appreciative for this reemergence. Career development is a hazardous thing and holding this engaging actress back would be a criminal offense. She's a bright new face on the scene and her first time at a leading role shows considerable potential.

Ilana Levine adds nice soundboard qualities as sidekick-girlfriend Marcy; Cameron Bancroft's acting is the worst casualty of inexperienced direction and editing; Alix Korey's mom holds up against script shortcutting and is spookily reminiscent of Carol Burnett sans the comedic supplement. Andrew McCarthy searches for a character who goes from strong, silent and struggling to gushy paramour. For a dose of charisma, he seems to have tried for a transfusion of early Brando.

While Anything But Love (earlier known under the clumsy title Standard Time), doesn't have the flash or budget of Steve Martin's 1981 homage to the era, Pennies From Heaven, it's fair to boost it as a modest plea to revive the genre. Who cares if it doesn't grab you by the imagination or swirl you in computer graphics? Must everything be The Matrix? Yes, it's going to be a difficult sell to unromantic hardnoses who won't give charm a chance, but despite its flaws, I side with this effort because of its feisty appeal, and say: Don't give this romantic confection the easy brush-off.

Anything but a party line.



Anything But Love

Facts and Figures

Run time: 30 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 7th March 1989

Distributed by: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Production compaines: Intrinsic Value Films, Jubilee Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Elliot Shephard, as Billie Golden, Cameron Bancroft as Greg Ellenbogen, Alix Korey as Laney Golden, as Marcy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Advertisement
Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.