×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Just One Time

In "Just One Time," his likable feature directorial debut, Lane Janger continues to develop a trend he helped initiate as producer of "I Think I Do" --- namely, to construct a romantic comedy that blends gay and straight characters who co-exist comfortably and happily in the same community. A vibrant , intermittently charming comedy made in the vein of such quintessential Gotham movies as "Desperately Seeking Susan" and particularly "I Like It Like That," pic exhibits dynamic interactions and healthy tensions among individuals whose sexual identities are not entirely stable and who struggle through chaotic emotional lives. An enterprising distributor could do small business with this modest film, which holds special allure for twentysomething urban dwellers, both gay and straight.

With:
Anthony ..... Lane Janger Amy ..... Joelle Carter Victor ..... Guillermo Diaz Dom ..... David Lee Russek Michelle ..... Jennifer Esposito

In “Just One Time,” his likable feature directorial debut, Lane Janger continues to develop a trend he helped initiate as producer of “I Think I Do” — namely, to construct a romantic comedy that blends gay and straight characters who co-exist comfortably and happily in the same community. A vibrant , intermittently charming comedy made in the vein of such quintessential Gotham movies as “Desperately Seeking Susan” and particularly “I Like It Like That,” pic exhibits dynamic interactions and healthy tensions among individuals whose sexual identities are not entirely stable and who struggle through chaotic emotional lives. An enterprising distributor could do small business with this modest film, which holds special allure for twentysomething urban dwellers, both gay and straight.

Based on Janger’s short of the same title that played at Sundance and other festivals, comedy’s point of departure is a fantasy shared by many men: to have a three-way with two women. Co-scripters Janger and Jennifer Vandever know that most women are threatened and even offended by this typically male desire, but for their protagonist, Amy (Joelle Carter), they devise a straitlaced lawyer who comes up with her own fantasy of a threesome with two men, one that she feels should be realized before getting married to her loving fiance, Anthony (Janger) , an Italian-American firefighter.

“Just One Time” benefits from exhibiting rather democratically both a male and a female p.o.v. In the tradition of Hollywood’s screwball comedies, every once in a while the movie veers toward one sex, only to “correct” itself and counter the material with the values of the opposite sex. Story would have been totally different if it sided with — or were told from the perspective of — one participant.

Tale dwells on the misunderstandings and mostly comic consequences that result when Amy and Anthony try to be experimental and turn their fantasies into reality. Pretending that Anthony’s dream is acceptable, Amy fashions a deal to douse his burning desire. She requests that Anthony reciprocate by helping her act out her fantasy, and the eager beau foolishly accepts, hoping they’ll realize his dream first.

Scheme involves Victor (Guillermo Diaz), their openly gay neighbor, who has a crush on Anthony. Seeking the help of his best friend, Dom (David Lee Russek), Anthony must devise a way to get around having sex with Victor and still appear to uphold his end of the bargain with Amy. Meanwhile, Amy seeks to satisfy her curiosity in the embrace of a lesbian furniture restorer (Jennifer Esposito), who also lives on their street.

Shot on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, pic reflects the particular racial mix and sexual politics of its colorful milieu. Though not particularly exuberant or technically accomplished, “Just One Time” displays the touch of a director who knows how to convey vividly the seriocomic elements inherent in the most routine and painful circumstances.

Problem is — and it is a major one — that, as played by Diaz, Esposito and others, the secondary characters are more interesting and energetic than the central duo, who are bland, both as constructs and as performers. The range of Janger and Carter is rather limited, and they are quite dull when occupying center stage. Fortunately, the film makes sure to get its leads out of their tiny apartment — and sexual hang-ups — often enough for the yarn not to appear too stagnant.

Just One Time

(ROMANTIC COMEDY)

Production: An Alliance Atlantis presentation of a Danger Filmworks production. Produced by Jasmine Kosovic, Lane Janger, Exile Ramirez, Jeff Roth. Executive producers, Marcus Hu, Charlotte Mickie, David R. Ginsburgh. (International sales: Alliance Atlantis Pictures Intl., Santa Monica.) Directedby Lane Janger. Screenplay, Janger, Jennifer Vandever, based on Janger's original story.

Crew: Camera (color), Michael St. Hilaire; editor, Mitch Stanley; music, Edward Bilous; production designer, Stephen Beatrice; sound, Damien Canelos, Noah Timan; casting, Kerry Barden, Billy Hopkins, Suzanne Smith. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 14, 1999. Running time: 124 MIN.

With: Anthony ..... Lane Janger Amy ..... Joelle Carter Victor ..... Guillermo Diaz Dom ..... David Lee Russek Michelle ..... Jennifer Esposito

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT More Reviews Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, All-Female Salute [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. More Reviews Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content