On the Line

"Weak"

On the Line Review


Here's a test I use when I review a kid friendly movie like On the Line, starring Lance Bass and Joey Fatone of the teen pop group *Nsync. If I took my young cousin to the movie, would there be something in it for me -- subtle humor, a funny supporting character, nice scenery?

On the Line does have a few little things that old folks (people who remember Cheers during its network run) can latch onto. Dave Foley, a great straight man, has a sizable role. There are lots of nice shots of Chicago. And Al Green sings a few songs.

However, the bad news is considerable, starting with the plot. Bass, plays a young ad man, who falls instantly in love with a comely graduate school student (Emmanuelle Chriqui of Snow Day) during a brief subway encounter.

Unfortunately, Bass has always had trouble asking girls out. And it continues as he fails to ask Chriqui for her name and phone number. Cursing his social ineptitude, Bass soon pastes fliers all over Chicago seeking the mysterious subway rider. His plight gets published in the papers, which leads to all sorts of wacky dates, problems with his friends (rip-offs of at least three characters from American Pie, who see a goldmine of social opportunities) and a pep talk from Cubs fan Jerry Stiller.

The concept isn't bad, if overly familiar, but the setup is completely off. Any guy who can ask, "Tell me something you'd never tell a stranger," without a trace of irony to a random hot girl, should have absolutely no problem sealing the deal. And, besides, why couldn't the smitten Chriqui ask Bass for his number?

Answer: The movie requires it. The script by Eric Aronson and Paul Stanton seems to have been written in a few hours -- Chriqui and Bass keep missing each other by moments, there's a comical montage of dates gone awry, etc. Characters are introduced and you know instantly what role they'll provide. Chriqui's boyfriend is in one scene, proves he's a colossal jerk, and soon vanishes. Bass's high school nemesis winds up covering his dilemma for the city newspaper. Fatone's idol (Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora!) appears on MTV, touting his appearance in Chicago. Wonder if the articles, which first turn Bass into a celebrity, will later tarnish his reputation? Wonder if Sambora will visit Fatone?

As for the acting of the teen heartthrobs, Bass is a harmless non-factor. Fatone, who plays Bass's flatulent, rock 'n' roller friend.. ugh! He's like the guy at the party who just won't shut up and will do anything to get attention. Don't believe me? Watch his rendition of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." It might change your stance on the death penalty.

The movie's most persistent problem is there isn't one genuine person or moment within sight. If a scene or character isn't outlandish, it's too familiar. Kids who love the group will flock to the movie, and will probably like what it offers. But anyone 18 or older will see On the Line for what it is: A movie swiped right off the high-concept assembly line.

Note: The movie concludes with an awful behind-the-scenes mockumentary, featuring *Nsync members Chris Kirkpatrick and Justin Timberlake as flamboyant stylists. In continuing a horrifying tradition of remaking great disco/R&B songs for the hip-hop generation, Al Green sings a remake of "Let's Stay Together," which features a rap by co-star GQ. At this rate, it won't be long before James Brown shuffles out to perform "Sex Machine (Get Ur Freak On Remix)" with Pink.

But hey, it gets even worse on the DVD. Deleted scenes have Bass playing tic-tac-toe against a chicken. And can you say commentary track?

A Cubs fan... sheesh.



On the Line

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th October 2001

Box Office USA: $4.2M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, A Happy Place

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 56

IMDB: 4.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Ed Bross

Producer: , , Robert L. Levy,

Starring: as Kevin Gibbons, as Rod, as Abbey, as Randy Francis, as Himself, as Jackie, as Mick Silver, Amanda Foreman as Julie, Dan Montgomery Jr. as Brady, as Higgins, as Nathan, David Fraser as Barret, Jenny Parsons as Margie The Receptionist, Kristin Booth as Sam, as Eric

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

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...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

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.