Still Breathing (1997) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sensuality and a scene of violence
Running Time: 109 min.
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Joanna Going, Celeste Holm, Ann Magnuson, Paolo Seganti, Angus Macfadyen, Toby Huss, Lou Rawls, Michael McKean, Wendy Benson-Landes
Director: James F. Robinson
Screenplay: James F. Robinson
This oddball romantic comedy, which happens to be writer-director-producer James F. Robinson's only feature film to date, is a curious sort of film. It's one of those kinds of movies so quirky, and yet so earnest, that one could easily love it for the same reasons that another viewer will find it impossible to endure. It's almost a shame that we don't have other films by Robinson to compare this one to, as it would be interesting to see if the offbeat tone of the film is intentional, or if it is merely the by-product of a man that didn't quite know exactly what he was doing during most days of filming. All one can do is speculate.
Brendan Fraser (With Honors, Blast from the Past) stars as San Antonio street performer, Fletcher McBracken, a whimsical fellow that thinks he's fated to meet the woman of his dreams, literally, from the visions he has been receiving lately. Joanna Going (Phantoms, Inventing the Abbotts) co-stars as Rosalyn Willoughby, a Los Angeles art expert just waiting to meet Mr. Right. Fletcher travels blindly to California looking for this woman that haunts his dreams, finding her in Rosalyn. Rosalyn mistakes him for a rich Texan she has been set up on a blind date with, and plans on using him for some money, knot knowing there's none to be had. He's much different than she thought he'd be, and soon, conflict emerges in her as to whether or not she can carry through with her plans on scamming him.
There are moments that work, sometimes even bordering on being touching, but for the most part, Still Breathing just never gels into a satisfying whole. Fraser and Going have some appeal, and the dialogue and situations are filled with inventive notions, and yet, momentum is never sustained for long, mostly because of the scattershot approach and lackadaisical delivery at times. Yet, underneath some of the messiness, there is a sweet, old-fashioned tale that just might resonate with viewers that actually do believe that people are fated to be together, drawn to each other by impulses that are beyond their comprehension or control.
©2006 Vince Leo