Knots (2004) / Comedy-Romance
aka Sex, Love and Lies
MPAA Rated: R for language, sexuality, and nudity
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Scott Cohen, Annabeh Gish, John Stamos, Michael Leydon Campbell, Paulina Porizkova, Tara Reid, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Linda Larkin, Sarah Litzinger, KaDee Strickland
Director: Greg Lombardo
Screenplay: Greg Lombardo, Neil Turitz
Review published June 24, 2005
With a name like Knots and a cast of attractive 30-something actors, you could probably guess that this is going to be another sexy romantic comedy that has multiple storylines and lovers switching partners until they all find something that clicks. You'd be right, but one thing you might not be right about is that it must be bad if the biggest celebrity names associated with the project are washed up stars of the late 1980s, Paulina Porizkova (Arizona Dream, Her Alibi) and John Stamos ("Full House", Never Too Young to Die). Actually, both are quite good in their respective roles, perhaps their most appealing roles to date, although it certainly helps that writer-director Greg Lombardo has constructed the characters to play to their strengths. It's an angst-filled comedy, very Woody Allen-ish in its approach, but Lombardo is acute enough in his characterizations to make it very worthwhile for couple that like smart date flicks.
The interweaving storyline primarily involves a married couple, Dave (Cohen, Gia) and Greta (Gish, Buying the Cow), who are struggling mightily to keep the spark in their romance alive after two years of marriage, but to no avail. Dave is later hit on in a local bar by a beautiful lawyer named Lily (Porizkova), but feeling guilty, Dave diverts her attention to his good friend Jake (Campbell, This is Not a Film), and they all consent to go on a double date. What wasn't part of the plan was for Dave to walk in on Greta and Lily in bed together, and what's worse, for Greta to slap him with divorce papers after discovering she might be a lesbian and wants out. Shortly after, Dave's other friend, Cal (Stamos), urges him to get back into the game for some cheap meaningless sex like he has all the time, despite being involved in a long-term relationship with the love of his life, Emily (Reid, My Boss's Daughter).
Although all of this would seem like a rather lame idea for another derivative ensemble comedy, it actually works quite well, thanks to some very fresh writing by Lombardo and co-screenwriter Neil Turitz (Two Ninas), and some very clever casting in each role. All of the cast, save perhaps Tara Reid, give top-notch turns, and I especially liked the performance from the film's third banana, Campbell.
Knots is a low-budget production, but Lombardo gets a lot of mileage for his money, and the film does look quite good, especially with the exterior shots of the city, with impressive cinematography handled by Michael Fimognari (Fighting Tommy Riley) . While it won't blow anyone away with originality, it is a very competently made comedy about relationships that is done with wit, energy, and intelligence. Don't be dismayed by the lack of modern big name talent or the fact that it's a straight-to-video affair Knots is better than most theatrical releases with huge stars and huger budgets.
©2005 Vince Leo