Review: ‘Jon E. Edwards is in Love’

For the first 30 minutes, "Jon E. Edwards Is in Love" plays like a "Spinal Tap"-style put-on about a belligerently confident but marginally talented entertainer. Only gradually does it become clear documentarians Chris Bradley and Kyle La Brache's titular subject isn't joking. Pic has curiosity value, and could generate interest in fest outings.

For the first 30 minutes, “Jon E. Edwards Is in Love” plays like a “Spinal Tap”-style put-on about a belligerently confident but marginally talented entertainer. Only gradually does it become clear documentarians Chris Bradley and Kyle La Brache’s titular subject, isn’t joking — whether he’s proclaiming himself “Soul Brother No. 1” or listing Johnny Rotten and Harry Belafonte among his musical influences. Pic has undeniable curiosity value, and could generate interest in fest outings. But even sympathetic auds may be turned off by borderline-creepy, double-exposure portrait of boisterous flamboyance and pitiable self-delusion.

Pic introduces Jon E. Edwards as early-fortysomething singer who achieved minor celebrity in N.Y. club scene of 1980s and ’90s before moving to L.A. to care for his ailing mother. When not working as PA for a sitcom, he devotes himself to performing and, when he can afford it, recording. Unfortunately, he’s more enthusiastic than accomplished as a vocalist. Even more unfortunately, breakthrough success all too obviously is a near impossible dream. Still, Edwards remains undaunted. “What is this song going to be?” someone asks after a recording session. Replies Edwards instantly: “A classic!”

Jon E. Edwards is in Love

Production

A Ripe Entertainment production in association with Intl. Orange. Produced by Patrick Bradley, Ryan Magnussen. Directed by Chris Bradley, Kyle La Brache.

Crew

Camera (B&W, DV), sound, Bradley, La Brache; editors, Bradley, La Brache, Joe Lamattina; music supervisor, Adam "DJ Botany 500" Porter. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, March 24, 2003. (At South by Southwest Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 87 MIN.
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