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Pipe Dream Reviews

John C. Walsh's six-years-later follow-up to his charmingly light debut, ED'S NEXT MOVE, is a fizzy Cyrano story that doubles as a winking satire of the movie biz. Cynical New York City plumber David Kulovic (Martin Donovan) has become acutely aware of the "perception categories" selective singles use to rate the social value of others; the guy who comes to snake the pipes when the sink backs up is nearly invisible. Further confirmation of this phenomenon strikes David when he's visiting his friend R.J. (Kevin Carroll), a casting agent, and notices that actresses who are ordinarily out of his league are suddenly flirting with him; after all, if David knows R.J., he must be somebody. The confusion gives David an idea. He convinces R.J. to put out a bogus casting call for a new independent film, to be directed by the soon-to-be huge director "David Coppleberg." David will then have his pick of the starry-eyed young actresses who come to audition. When R.J. responds that he'll first need sides for the actors to read, David pilfers a few pages from neighbor Toni Edelman's (Mary-Louise Parker) unproduced screenplay. (Toni and David once shared a one-night stand together, but Toni thought better of it the morning after; after all, he's just a plumber.) R.J. sends around the "Pipe Dream" sample to the usual agents who, unwilling to tip their hand to the competition, talk the project up as something very hot. By the time Toni finds out what David's done, "Pipe Dream" has accumulated serious buzz and attracted the attention of a computer mogul who's willing to invest a cool $2 million in the project. Toni, who knows her way around a set, comes up with a scheme of her own: Why not go ahead and make the film? She can direct, Cyrano-style, through David, posing as his script supervisor and transmitting directions through his headset. As production gets underway, the expected complications ensue, and yes, the film is contrived. But part of the screwball fun lies in feeling that the only thing keeping it all from flying apart is the chemistry between the leading lady and her man. And it's interesting chemistry: Neither Parker nor Donovan is a typical romantic lead, but they bring a fresh, quirky charm to the formula. Nor are their characters typical meet-cute types: David and Toni are imperfect people who are some how perfect for each other.