Review: ‘Singles’

MONTREAL--Warner Bros. appears to have a hit on its hands with the dynamite romantic comedy "Singles," which garnered great buzz after Montreal Film Festival world preem. Superbly scripted, cast and scored, pic is a natural for the partner-hunting twentysomething crowd and should easily cross over to thirtysomething singles or couples primed to laugh at the dating syndrome.

MONTREAL–Warner Bros. appears to have a hit on its hands with the dynamite romantic comedy “Singles,” which garnered great buzz after Montreal Film Festival world preem. Superbly scripted, cast and scored, pic is a natural for the partner-hunting twentysomething crowd and should easily cross over to thirtysomething singles or couples primed to laugh at the dating syndrome.

“Singles” is a younger version of “The Big Chill,” with Paul Westerberg’s hot sub-pop song tracks a great marketing tie-in.

Straightforward story is a face-to-face encounter with young adults who live separate and intertwined lives in a Seattle apartment building. They often share their secrets directly with the audience and their bodies with each other.

After opening shot cruising through city streets, writer-director-producer Cameron Crowe turns the camera on Linda (superbly played by Kyra Sedgwick) who faces the crowd with a “here’s my life in a nutshell” vignette.

Surprisingly, Crowe’s “interview” format works (where many others have failed), and Linda becomes the link between audience and parallel comedies.

Linda’s first romantic catastrophe sets the stage for the many hilarious horror stories–and feats of desperation–that follow.

Seduced by a Spanish university student who claims he has to leave the country in five days due to an expiring visa, Linda hops in the sack and dreams of marriage (so she’ll always have a date) until she catches her cheating Casanova in a

singles bar with another woman. Linda’s been had and is determined not to be burned twice.

Linda then begins a budding love story with honest/earnest/cool dude Steve (Campbell Scott).

Bridget Fonda turns in a stunning performance as dipsy Janet, in love with hopelessly bad guitar player Cliff (Matt Dillon does a great job as a brain-dead , self-centered, second-rate musician).

Their story unfolds amid various singles’ crises, including Debbie Hunt’s (Sheila Kelley) video-dating search for a man.

There’s no shortage of tender moments in this comedy, and former rock journalist Crowe cleverly transforms “real” problems into crackerjack material.

However, scripter Crowe carefully sidesteps singles issues such as abortion, offering a too-convenient solution to the accidental pregnancy of one couple, setting up crucial talks about crisis maintenance in relationships.

Richard Chew’s editing is terrific. Tales are enhanced by a super soundtrack. Love songs are used to perfection and Paul Westerberg’s title track, “Dyslexic Heart,” is a winner.

Singles

(Romantic comedy--Color)

Production

A Warner Bros. release of an Atkinson/Knickerbocker Films production. Produced by Cameron Crowe, Richard Hashimoto. Executive producer, Art Linson. Co-producer, Richard Chew. Directed, written by Crowe.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor), Ueli Steiger; editor, Chew; music, Paul Westerberg; production design, Stephen Lineweaver; art direction, Mark Haack; set design, Cosmas Demetriou; set decoration, Clay Griffith; costume design, Jane Ruhm; sound (Dolby), Art Rochester; associate producer, Kelly Curtis; assistant director, Jerry Ziesmer; second unit director, Chew; second unit camera, Billy O'Drobinak; casting, Marion Dougherty. Reviewed at the Montreal World Film Festival, Sept. 6, 1992. MPAA rating: PG-13. Running time: 99 min.

With

Janet Livermore ... Bridget Fonda Steve Dunne ... Campbell Scott Linda Powell ... Kyra Sedgwick Debbie Hunt ... Sheila Kelley David Bailey ... Jim True Cliff Poncier ... Matt Dillon Dr. Jamison ... Bill Pullman Andy ... James Le Gros Ruth ... Devon Raymond Luiz ... Camilo Gallardo Pam ... Ally Walker Mime ... Eric Stoltz Doug Hughley ... Jeremy Piven Mayor Weber ... Tom Skerritt Boston Doctor ... Bill Smillie
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