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Head over Heels (2001)

Art House & International movie

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Too expensive for a cheap copy

  • Aug 20, 2001
Here we have a classic example of the good-natured movie that fails the Gene Siskel test - it's less interesting than a documentary of the actors having lunch and discussing the script would be.

It's Monica Potter's first attempt at comedy (unless, unlike me, you consider "Patch Adams" a comedy), and she does a serviceable job, word-mangling and pratfalling like a real trouper. She plays Amanda, a painting restorer at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, who lucks into an enormous Westside apartment for $500 per month. This is the first of several elements in which it is impossible to believe, but it's pretty standard stuff next to the reason given for the low rent. See, the apartment belongs to a modeling agency that lets four girls stay in it for free, and they decide to rent out a closet as a bedroom to get some extra cash. Now, I ask you; if you were a New York high fashion model, could you get by on $500 per month in spending money? Divided four ways?

Be that as it may, Amanda, who proudly announces to the women in the audience "I know you think you have the world's worst taste in men, but you don't, I do," falls for the fashion executive across the street, after a classic Meet Cute featuring an amorous Great Dane named Hamlet. Get it? In case you don't, Amanda explains it for you.

The fashion exec is Jim, played by Freddie Prinze Jr. with all the personality of a loaf of white bread. Well, okay, not a loaf of white bread; we get plenty of chances to observe his muscle tone as the girls ogle him through his conveniently uncurtained windows, which are apparently opaque from the inside since he never notices that he's being spied on from fifty feet away. We don't get a chance to see his acting ability, since he's playing Cary Grant Lite.

Then Amanda sees him bash an attractive blonde's head in with a baseball bat. The cops won't listen. Amanda enlists her supermodel roommates to conduct their own investigation before her Saturday date with this presumed psycho killer. So the supermodels reluctantly endure some of the more grotesque bathroom humor of recent years, the New York subway and a variety of other Manhattan exteriors to spy on Jim. Despite their height, perfect makeup and designer outfits, no one notices them, least of all the man they're following. Hijincks ensue.

In short, this is a combination of Rear Window and North by Northwest, with a few uninspired screwball comedy reflexes thrown in. Now, in my book, good performances make up for a lot of sins, and there are several nice ones here. The supermodels hired to play the supermodels in particular acquit themselves well, especially Shalom Harlow as an opportunistic Jewish American Princess and Ivana Milicevic as a cynical Russian, along with Sarah O'Hare as a klutzy Aussie and Tomika Fraser as an intelligent African-American. Indeed, the four of them manage to outshine Potter and Prinze both, and it's a shame they weren't given a movie of their own. Or at least some of the screen time otherwise devoted to the aforementioned bathroom humor, tired romantic-thriller plot, and whining voiceovers. Or that documentary of the four of them having lunch.

I'd be interested in a movie about four good-natured models thrashing through the New York fashion world - I'd enjoy looking at them, of course, and I might learn something about fashion, too. I certainly didn't learn much about that from this movie, although the filmmakers apparently did. Their script, design and direction partake of a well-known fashion technique, that of the knockoff. Same design as a classic, in this case Alfred Hitchcock's combination of thriller and comedy elements, only made with much weaker materials.

Benshlomo says, Knockoffs are only worthwhile if they're cheaper than the real thing.

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About this movie


Fall in love with the sexy comedy The Oakland Tribune says has "more chuckles than The Wedding Planner." It's a wild blend of big laughs, high fashion and foul play. Ordinary single girl Amanda Pierce (Monica Potter) unexpectedly finds herself sharing an awesome Manhattan apartment with four sexy supermodels. Determined to bring Amanda into their world, the models give her the ultimate makeover. The plan works fabulously as Amanda connects with next door charmer Jim Winston (Freddie Prinze, Jr.). That is, until one night while spying on him, Amanda thinks she sees the man of her dreams committing a cold blooded crime. Life then unravels as Amanda and her four loopy roomies must take to the streets to try and solve this mystery with style!
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DVD Release Date: July 31, 2001
Runtime: 86 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios

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