Easy

Convincing romantic complications are hard to come by these days; too many so-called romantic comedies wind up resorting to crude humor for laughs and kitschy shtick in place of charm. No so with this micro-budget winner from writer-director Jane Weinstock: Happily, EASY does it. Jamie Harris (Marguerite Moreau) is in the throes of what she describes as...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Convincing romantic complications are hard to come by these days; too many so-called romantic comedies wind up resorting to crude humor for laughs and kitschy shtick in place of charm. No so with this micro-budget winner from writer-director Jane Weinstock: Happily, EASY does it. Jamie Harris (Marguerite Moreau) is in the throes of what she describes as a self-destructive relationship — with herself. None of the men she's tried to lure into her life with one-night stands ever bothers with a second date, and her answering machine is filled with message that usually start with "You were great, but...." When Jamie hears that John (Naveen Andrews), a former poetry professor whom she's long loved from afar, will be holding a book signing at an L.A. bookstore, Jamie drags her sister, Laura (Emily Deschanel, a dead ringer for her equally charming sibling, Zooey), along. Laura, who married an architect (Gildart Jackson) just like dear old dad (John Rothman), makes Jamie promise that, should the occasion arise, she won't sleep with John, who's just ended an eight-year relationship. Jamie agrees, but ends up in bed with him anyway when it looks like he's about to leave with just a kiss goodnight. Luckily, John not only leaves a note the following morning, he even cooks Jamie dinner that night. Meanwhile, Mick (Brian F. O'Byrne), the host of a popular late-night talk show, has just moved in across the hall. Enchanted by what Jamie does for a living (she thinks up names for products like tanning beds and tampons), Mick invites her onto his show. She agrees, and even though John dumps her just hours before she's about to go on the air, she's a hit with both the audience and the host himself. Shortly after the taping is over, however, a bizarre accident occurs. Jamie follows an emotionally distraught woman to the roof of the studio, and after talking her down from a ledge, Jamie herself takes a serious tumble and winds up in a coma with two shattered forearms. When she finally comes to, Jamie finds John back at her side, and Mick vying for her attention. It's all as hooky as good pop song, which is unusual, considering that Jamie isn't always the most likeable character: She's not above manipulating people who really care about her — people like poor Mick — for her own ends. Weinstock's trump is Moreau, a natural-born charmer with a million-dollar smile who keeps you rooting for Jamie without ever sacrificing her character's edge. Not every plot point is the freshest  will characters kindly stop leaving address books lying around? — but the film never devolves into goofy vulgarity or smart-women, dumb-choices pap.

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