An uncommonly well-acted comedy and a surprisingly deft directorial debut, "To Hell With Love" could well generate enough buzz on the indie festival circuit --- where it has already begun to win attention --- to earn it a distributor and eventual arthouse run.

An uncommonly well-acted comedy and a surprisingly deft directorial debut, “To Hell With Love” could well generate enough buzz on the indie festival circuit — where it has already begun to win attention — to earn it a distributor and eventual arthouse run.

This wry commentary on the pitfalls of romance centers on unpublished writer Alan Rigatelli (David Coburn), whose rotten luck forces him to re-evaluate his life and goals: In 48 hours, he loses his job, his car, his girlfriend and his manuscript. Alan’s problems are exacerbated when his adulterous brother (Michael McCafferty) and emotionally immature cousin (Corey Michael Blake) arrive on his doorstep. Tthe three men learn about life and love, presented in a tautly interwoven trio of stories.

“To Hell With Love” takes a while to find its rhythm and its comic pacing — opening reel’s laughs feel a bit labored — but once it does, it’s a delightful diversion. Scripted by helmer Karl Kozak and actor Coburn, the thoughtful scenario conceives each member of the Rigatelli clan as a credible, multidimensional man of the ’90s with his own strengths and hidden vulnerabilities. Just when it seems that Kozak and Coburn are heading for easy resolutions and comedic cliches, they toss a curve ball that makes it difficult to predict what will happen next.

If unpredictability is part of its winning charm, pic also benefits greatly from its similarly inventive, jazz-inflected score. Scott Harper’s infectiously likable music adds wily, contrapuntal undertones and smart upbeat riffs to the action. Brisk in tone and breezy in style, “To Hell With Love” augurs promisingly for director Kozak and his uniformly talented cast.

To Hell with Love

(COMEDY)

Production

A Filmquest Partners presentation in association with Nichol Moon Entertainment. Produced by Karl Kozak, Victor Lou. Executive producers, Gary Dubie, Michael Gonzales. Directed by Karl Kozak. Screenplay, Kozak, David Coburn, story by Kozak.

Crew

Camera (Foto-Kem color), Victor Lou; editor, Robert Pergament; music, Scott Harper; sound, John Lawson; associate producers, Mark Hall, Paul Cammarata, Jeffrey T. Slovin; assistant director, Donita Dooley; casting, Nouveau Talent Agency. Reviewed at Dances with Films Festival of the Unknowns, Santa Monica, July 26, 1998. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Alan Rigatelli ..... David Coburn Nick Rigatelli ..... Corey Michael Blake Sarah Franklin ..... Kate Parselle Andrew Rigatelli ..... Michael McCafferty Maria ..... Julie McKee Julie ..... Natalie Williams
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