Love 101 (2000) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for language, nudity, sexual situations and crude humor
Running Time: 86 min.
Cast: Michael Muhney, Mary Kay Cook, Jon Collins, Heidi Mokrycki, Jim Slolina, Jeff Anderson, Will Caprenter
Director: Adrian Fulle
Screenplay: Adrian Fulle
Normally, I tend to cut a low-budget independent film some slack. However, once in a while a film will rub me the wrong way, until it becomes annoying, and later, infuriating. Love 101 is one of those kinds of films for me.
The main premise behind Love 101 revolves around Joe, a geeky, virginal college student who has an infatuation with one of his classmates, Shayna. Joe's roommate is Andrew, a ladies man known for his one-night stands. Joe goes away to his parents for Thanksgiving, leaving Andrew alone in the dorm. Shayna is also staying near the campus for the holiday weekend, and in a chance meeting with Andrew, they hit it off big. Andrew continues his string of one-night stands, telling Shayna to take a hike afterward, but remains conflicted as to whether or not to tell Joe that he did "the deed" with his dream girl. As mad as both Andrew and Shayna are with each other, underneath there is still an attraction, which causes some strained conflicts and difficult situations for them, especially when Joe comes back with asking Shayna out on his mind.
The film is written by Adrian Fulle, who actually does a decent job in some of the dialogue and editing chores, sufficiently enough to credit him for having the talent to put together a good romantic comedy. Where Love 101 falls short is in the delivery, particularly because of the derivative nature of the plot and the predictability of the outcome. While there are some occasionally funny moments and some adequate performances, there's just not enough to make it stand out from a sea of other romantic comedies just like it.
The "sore spot" I alluded to earlier comes not in the performers, but in the characters themselves. Basically, I had a strong dislike for almost every character in this movie, enough to turn me completely off to how the movie would ultimately resolve itself. In particular, I found Joe's namby-pamby whining to be a constant source of irritation, while Andrew's friend Tad come off as too much of a jackass to find funny. Sure, you can argue that these characters are written to be that way, but regardless, I didn't enjoy watching them, and certainly didn't care to see them attempt to score with chicks. I spent most of my college years, and probably my life, avoiding people like the ones in this movie, so spending 90 minutes of my free time with such self-serving a-holes and lamers wasn't my idea of a fun time.
Granted, not everyone is going to have the same reaction, as what I find annoying, someone else will find endearing, or at least amusing. That said, even if I were to overlook my personal prejudices, Love 101 would still not have enough creative juice to garner a recommendation as a good film. A valiant effort at a college comedy, but Fulle really should have taken Screenwriting 101 before dishing out a dog-tired romance like this.
© 2003 Vince Leo