Better Than Chocolate

"Weak"

Better Than Chocolate Review


To paraphrase Bob Dylan, Hollywood knows when something is happening, though it seldom knows what it is or why it happened.

Nobody knows why gay love stories have gone from being taboo to trendy, but the film industry is belatedly ready to exploit the new homophilia with Trick and Better Than Chocolate, a Canadian import by director Anne Wheeler. Gay love stories have momentarily joined the list of bankable film premises, along with Julia Roberts and dog-poop gags. Formerly alternative screenwriters and directors, probably concerned that the 15-minute stopwatch is ticking, are rushing in with product. So far, the results are mostly forgettable.

Better Than Chocolate is a frothy, smoochy tale about two angelic, college-age lesbians with common interests (sex, erotic painting, coffee) who meet and instantly fall in love, or the high-school equivalent, in a coffee shop. Maggie (the angelic Karyn Dwyer) is a coed who's rethinking her future, Kim (Christina Cox) is a street painter who somehow has plenty of money for going out on the weekend. Complications ensue, but not serious ones, when Maggie's mom (Wendy Crewson) and high school-age brother move in with them and their friends undergo various personal crises.

The teenage romance and chick flick can be annoying genres to start with. They're not any less annoying when conjoined. Like so many alternative efforts to go mainstream (or mainstream attempts to be alternative), Better Than Chocolate mostly misses --- the lovers' problems are too lifelike for the movie to be escapist, but the characters are too stereotypical to be real. At best, director Anne Wheeler has some fun with young love and the humorous side of lesbian/gay culture, but she fails to make that culture seem anything other than silly. (Maybe it just is silly --- I mean, how many straight people do you know who think dildoes are endlessly hilarious sight gags?)

The movie is absolutely dumb when it gets serious or tries to make a statement, e.g. an implausible subplot about a censorship war between Canadian customs and the lesbian bookstore where Maggie works. And bringing in the inevitable queer-hating skinheads at the climax of the movie is cliched, predictable hate mongering. But at least the skinheads have a purpose in furthering the plot --- and at least there is a plot.

The younger actors are adequate, but the memorable performances are also the more demanding roles --- Peter Outerbridge as a transsexual (almost) with a sensitive side, and Crewson as Maggie's frantic mom. Both performances are great and they aren't the only good elements of this movie, but the movie is still fluff and all the good elements are ultimately wasted.

Better Than Chocolate is probably not any worse than Runaway Bride, but what does that mean? It's also no worse than the average teen romance flick, but few people would watch a teenage love story this saccharine if the two leads were straight. Once the novelty wears off and Hollywood decides the gay thing isn't happening anymore, I wonder if anyone will be watching lesbian teenage love stories, either.

Worse than vanilla.



Better Than Chocolate

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th August 1999

Distributed by: Trimark Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Anne Wheeler

Producer:

Starring: as Maggie, as Kim, as Lila, as Frances, as Judy, as Mr. Marcus, as Carla

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.