Reality and fantasy square off in a slick, sexy romantic comedy about a brother whose addiction to porn films creates stumbling blocks in his budding relationship with a flesh-and-blood babe. Good-looking leads and gamey humor should click with urban audiences, especially as a home entertainment title.

Reality and fantasy square off in “Love, Sex & Eating the Bones,” a slick, sexy romantic comedy about a brother whose addiction to porn films creates stumbling blocks in his budding relationship with a flesh-and-blood babe. Winner of the Toronto fest’s City-TV award for best Canadian first feature, writer-director Sudz Sutherland’s entertaining debut could be tighter and faster. But its good-looking leads and gamey humor should click with urban audiences, especially as a home entertainment title.

An aspiring photographer paying the rent with a security guard job, Michael (Hill Harper) dreams of a fulfilling relationship but gets more intimate with his video remote than with real women. A regular customer at adult store Pornucopia, he spends his nights drooling over sex amazon Lisette (Marieka Weathered), whose finest moment was in a “Cum-Fu” action epic. Jasmine (Marlyne N. Afflack) is a market research executive who has chosen celibacy in the wake of a bad relationship.

When the two meet in a Laundromat, the chemistry is evident, but both characters have set up protective barriers that get in the way of their emotional connection.

Jasmine overcomes her resistance on the third date, and is willing to bed Michael, but his obsession with pornography makes the real deal intimidating and prevents him from performing. A further obstacle surfaces in Jasmine’s roommate Peaches (Kai Soremekun), a frustrated actress working at Pornucopia, who dismisses Michael as a sleazebag. This prompts Michael to enlist fellow guard Sweets (Mark Taylor) to run romantic interference.

While it starts out a little heavy-handed and unsophisticated, the comedy mellows into a progressively more appealing groove. Sutherland’s script choreographs the off-again, on-again relationship a little sluggishly, but steers the couple to a credible and satisfying meeting point at which Jasmine loosens up and Michael shakes off the trappings of his immature past, allowing them to reach a new understanding.

Characters are well-defined and played with a nice balance of cool composure and sweet vulnerability by the leads. Sharp lensing and a smooth urban soundtrack make this a solid package with more edge than the usual Canadian commercial fare.

Love, Sex & Eating the Bones

Canada

Production

A ThinkFilm Canada release of a Hungry Eyes/Film Food production in association with Film Works, imX Communications. (International sales: Film Sales Company, New York.) Produced by Jennifer Holness. Executive producers, Christopher Zimmer, Paul Stephens, Jeff Sackman. Directed, written by Sudz Sutherland.

Crew

Camera (color), Arthur E. Cooper; editor, Jeff Warren; music, Kenny Neal; music supervisor, Master T; production designer, Jonathan Dueck; art director, Chris Irvine; set decorator, Ed Kent; costume designer, Morganne Newson; sound (Dolby Digital), Bissa Skecic; associate producers, Eric Jordan, Rob Blackie, Marilyn Gray; line producer, Allan Levine; assistant director, Ron Oxley; casting, Marissa Richmond. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Perspective Canada), Sept. 7, 2003. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Michael - Hill Harper Jasmine - Marlyne N. Afflack Sweets - Mark Taylor Peaches - Kai Soremekun Lisette - Marieka Weathered Kennedy - Ed Robertson

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