Don't Go Breaking My Heart:
Lest ye be confused, this is a review for the 1999 English language romantic comedy, not the 2011 release from China. A large part of my brain wonders if the timing of this release is coincidental. I mean, if a potential of over a billion customers were to get confused and accidentally order this DVD from Amazon, well I just don't know what to say. I will say this; despite a few weird lapses in Moral Cogitude, the most interesting thing about Don't Go Breaking is its mysterious appearance on DVD 12 years after its debut.
Tony (Anthony Edwards) is an awkward Yank living in London. I know, it's a stretch for Edwards. He's a Therapeutic Sports Psychologist and Trainer who happens upon a hot older English babe, Suzanne, (Jenny Seagrove) due to a humorous mix-up with a Dentist/Mesmerist who wants to hypnotize Suzanne into bed. It's great, too, because she has a son who's suffering Sports Anxiety, and also she's a widow who needs to Move On. So when she accidentally falls in love with Tony, everything's perfect. Until the Dentist, Frank, (Charles Dance) continues to hypnotize and have sex with Suzanne. Or something. I'll admit my mind drifted a bit, which is what you will do, too. It's only natural.
Oh how will it all work out? Really oddly, but in an aggravating way, by which I mean the movie's moral decrepitude isn't worth a look unless you REALLY LIKE romantic comedies. So even though hearts are toyed with, civil crimes are committed, and such-like, everyone's pretty pleased with themselves by movie's end.
But despite a skewed attitude and some decent performances - Seagrove gives her all, and Jane Leeves is as pleasant as usual - Breaking just isn't all that compelling. There's so much artifice surrounding these hypnotic crushes that there's no real way to feel for these characters. Dance's character is particularly repellent, which isn't a word I want to think about during a rom-com, while Edwards (at least to my tastes) is just dull. I can't really imagine why he would go for Suzanne, either, despite her old-lady hotness and fine breeding. I certainly can't imagine what she'd see in him, other than his desire to talk sexy to high school kids about sports. Lucky it's all engineered through false pretenses.
Through a bit of slight humor and pseudo-depth the plot toddles along, before ending up on the bleachers, leaping up and clapping politely for the winners. What can you expect from a sham romance, other than a dialog-free musical montage that shows the couple walking for an hour or so through an overactive park, bonding so deeply that no one will ever understand? And the therapist? Tom Conti mugging in a cheap bit part, with magnifying glasses over his eyes, is the type of caricature Jim Carrey might find too broad. It makes for a disingenuous romantic comedy, built on a foundation of sand, with actors that will chill your loins. Except for Seagrove. Rrowr!
I wager the 1.33:1 ratio fullscreen presentation is meant to preserve the film's OAR, since this sure seems like a TV Movie, complete with breaks for commercials. While colors are pretty nice and rich, this is otherwise a low-quality source and/or transfer, with somewhat soft images, lots of grain, and interlacing problems. It's not bad enough to deter those who'll still go for this release. They don't discriminate about this sort of thing.
The Digital Stereo Audio track is just serviceable enough. Pop songs on the soundtrack - though not as plentiful as packaging would have you believe - are mixed in a little too loudly, obscuring dialog at times and emphasizing radically different sonic qualities between the movie and vintage recordings.
Your extra is the chance to get out now, buddy. Nothing else.
I'm not immune to romance in the movies, nor romantic comedies, but Don't Go Breaking My Heart laid me out cold. With plot mechanics that ruin romantic credibility, Charle's Dance's sleazy hypnotic dentist and the ever-bland Anthony Edwards stink up London, as they suck up to that sexy old Jenny Seagrove. Lord, what is wrong with me? Skip It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com