Two lonely Angelenos miss the sense of touch so much they crash into each other in “What’s Up, Scarlet?” sparking a tame same-sex romance between business-minded Scarlet (Susan Priver) and emotional actress Sabrina (Musetta Vander). The women make an odd pair — Scarlet with her severe Anjelica Huston looks and Sabrina like a pouty Sophia Loren — but their unlikely chemistry helps excuse the story’s many cliches, namely the too-cute notion that Scarlet, who works as a professional matchmaker, wouldn’t recognize her perfect mate if it hit her in the bumper. Low-budget pic won’t appeal far beyond the lipstick lesbian set.
While the two women cautiously get to know one another, Scarlet’s overbearing mother (Sally Kirkland) and pothead brother (Jere Burns) fill the empty spaces with shrill family drama. Neither the chemistry nor the comedy quite works, but the two leads are compelling enough to sustain interest. When conflict finally does arise, director Anthony Caldarella flashes back on a montage of romantic moments unseen until that point, revealing that a more conventional courtship must have been unfolding offscreen. Like the central couple, pacing and production values don’t quite click.