A would-be sex comedy that lacks appeal, not to mention laughs, "Her Minor Thing" does seem to know its mind about its main subject, non-marital you-know-what. Intended breakthrough vehicle for Estella Warren, as a 25-year-old virgin, drags even at 91 minutes and is questionable even as cable fodder.

A would-be sex comedy that lacks appeal, not to mention laughs, “Her Minor Thing” does seem to know its mind about its main subject, non-marital you-know-what. Intended breakthrough vehicle for Estella Warren, as a 25-year-old virgin, drags even at 91 minutes and is questionable even as cable fodder.

The pouty-mouthed model here plays Jeana, a computer expert for the Sacramento fire department — although her work seems to consist mostly of wearing tight white blouses and teasing the hunky tall guys who drool after her. They start biting back (but then sensitively helping) after she is accidentally outed by b.f. Tom Lindeman (cast standout Michael Weatherly), a vain tube reporter, who ponders her intact status without realizing that the camera is running.

The camera operator is Paul (OK “Angel” vet Christian Kane), an appropriately sensitive artist from Texas who then keeps running into Jeana without knowing she’s the one. There is much more meet-cuting and mistaken-identity biz, some fed by Jeana’s conveniently angry, homely and man-hating best friend (Rachel Dratch, well off her “Saturday Night Live” footing).

Whom will she choose? It’s hard for auds to care, given the lack of chemistry or common sense seen on screen, and with Warren just floating through it all.

Pic lopes along from small event to small event (heroine calls her virginity “no major thing”, hence the title). Pic’s prime (and married) movers, Jim and Debra Myers, might be promoting abstinence, or maybe just couldn’t get their lead to go naked for the sake of frat-boy ticket sales. Either way, proceedings are absent wit or originality, except perhaps during cameos from standups Kathy Griffin and Flex Alexander, who occasionally do their minor things unimpeded by the movie around them.

Unusual Sacramento locations are used well, and brightly colored settings help paper over general lack of energy. Music cues seemed both arbitrary and obvious on print caught in Seattle, and title animation seg looks amateurish.

After promise of “The Grass Harp,” helmer Charles Matthau appears to be slumming a decade later, and a gratuitous plug for his dad, with Warren’s character touting preference for Walter Matthau over Cary Grant, is just plain silly.

Her Minor Thing

Production

A Crescent Moon Films production. Produced by Jim Myers, Debra Meyers, Heather Simpson, Vikki Wagner. Directed by Charles Matthau. Screenplay, Jim Myers, based on a story by Jim and Debra Meyers.

Crew

Camera (color), John J. Connor; editor, Jessica Congdon; music, Todd Capps; music supervisor, Diane DeLouise Wessell; production designer, Rich Baum; art director, Josh Miller; costume designer, Farrell Scott; sound (Dolby), Stan Chan; associate producers, Dick Pinsker, Morgan Simpson, Shane Conrad, Terri Burns, Baum, Sitowitz; casting, Orly Kate Sitowitz. Reviewed at Seattle Film Festival (New American Cinema), June 9, 2004. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Jeana Summers - Estella Warren Tom Lindeman - Michael Weatherly Paul - Christian Kane Caroline - Rachel Dratch Marty - Flex Alexander Zsa Zsa - Ivana Milicevic
With: Kathy Griffin, Victoria Jackson, David Fine, Larry Milburn, Rachel Songer, Keary Ann Bixby, Heather Simpson, Elizabeth Nunziato.
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