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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Loveless in Los Angeles
Loveless in Los Angeles
Allumination Filmworks // R // May 29, 2007
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted May 15, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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Background: Modern day relationships can be grueling tests of endurance that would rival the twelve labors of Hercules. I speak from extensive experience, sometimes being the one testing the will of my partner and other times being the one tested, but as in all things, men and women rarely see eye to eye on even the basic tenants of relationships, making them a fertile breeding ground for comedy (as well as drama). Some movies tend to go the sappy route with these differences; sucking up to the female audience they know pine for an impossibly perfect mate and will see a movie a dozen times to point to the hero who does everything they expect of you. Other movies cater towards the male audience, showing ample nudity and goofing on the narrow minded ladies the writers know men hate with a passion. Today's review is on a movie that tries hard to straddle the line between men and women in what amounts to a modern day version (sans supernatural elements) of A Christmas Carol in the form of Loveless in Los Angeles.

Movie: Loveless in Los Angeles is the comedic brainchild of writer/director Archie Gips; a man best known for his work as a producer for the TV show Blind Date. The movie is an ultra low budget romance comedy starring Dash Mihok as Dave Randall and Brittany Daniels as Kelly, a man Dave meets in school. Dave falls head over heels for Kelly but she remains with a guy so obviously wrong for her that it greatly frustrates our hero. She marries her sweetheart and Dave sets out for Hollywood to become a screenwriter; apparently owing more than a little inspiration to the director's life story (according to the commentary). The movie flash forwards ten years later and the thirty something Dave is one of the biggest sharks on the Los Angeles dating circuit; loving and leaving them after all kinds of freaky sex every night of the week. This shows how Dave went from a sweetheart to a predator thanks to his crash course in reality by the shallow women of the Southern California area (that aspect left to your imagination).

Dave works as a producer for a blind date show, writing the mean text bubbles that put the daters in their worst possible light, but spends all his free time screwing women he picks up in bars and clubs; writing off his expenses as research (sounds like my dream job). After his current life is established to make him a major heel, he runs into Kelly and catches up with how her concrete plan for her life fell apart. Dave's co-producer takes advantage of Kelly to make her a contestant on the show, slipping her drugs to make her the ratings week dream girl when she goes crazy. The movie then changes gears to show Dave and Kelly fighting a lot before he recruits her to re-educate him in how nice he used to be before he became so jaded. Why he would want to give up fresh sex with an expansive pool of hard body hotties was one of the areas where the movie dropped the ball for me (big time) but the body of the movie was at least cute in terms of describing the dating pool with a sharp emphasis on how shallow women are and the single mindedness of the men (some of the classic lines of the flick centering on the "types of women" so aptly pigeonholing the majority of women in most major urban areas).

As Dave learns to become more like his old self, most of the comedy involves the culture clash of the mindsets presented; Dave receiving a lot of pain in the process of her training. The subplot of Gwen (Navi Rawat) making her big play to the big time using up Kelly via her dating tape was a bit tired, especially her catty mannerisms, but at least it helped provide some comic relief in the process. The other secondary cast members were all kind of left as props, rarely showing any character development in the limited budget movie (shooting lasted 23 days and the budget was reportedly about a half mil; shot on video in high def). There was nothing new here but as a midweek Rent It, it will serve to put your gal on notice how much nicer you are by comparison to Dave in most of the movie; also allowing you to get digs on women in if that's your thing. Don't get me wrong; men are seen nearly as badly but the closest examination goes towards the ladies and their stereotypical flaws so many of us men joke about when they aren't around.

Picture: Loveless in Los Angeles was presented in a non-anamorphic letter boxed widescreen color as shot on video using high definition cameras. I would have preferred it be in anamorphic widescreen but given the low budget nature of the movie (and it looked like it in all the scenes), I wasn't expecting too much. The fleshtones were accurate and the lighting fairly natural, the editing tending to be a little rushed at times. If you are used to low budget independently made features and how they look, you'll immediately recognize the look of this one but even if it looked like a movie costing thirty times as much; it wouldn't have impacted the movie themes. I saw few compression artifacts and the edge enhancement did not really get on my nerves as well.

Sound: The audio was presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital English using a bitrate of 192 Kbps. There was minimal separation between the channels and the vocals seemed somewhat hollow ; much like the visual elements, the sound not detracting from the movie's themes but not adding a lot either. The music to the movie was generic and minimalist, perhaps showing how limited the budget was.

Extras: The best extra for me was the audio commentary starring director Archie Gips and lead actor Dash Mihok. They gave a casual vibe to the commentary that gave a good balance between the technical elements, the problems that arose, and some background of what took place on and off the set. Archie was the better of the two by far, contributing on more levels and more consistently but Dash provided some decent comments from time to time as well. I also liked the lengthy, nearly 30 minutes of deleted scenes and bloopers; some of them fleshing out the scenes in the movie really well (lending character development that was often desperately needed to make the movie more interesting). There were also 5 trailers, including one for the movie.

Final Thoughts: Loveless in Los Angeles was not going to endanger any major box office hits coming out on DVD this week in terms of sales or popularity but it had some telling moments that showed director/screenwriter Archie Gips had more than a passing familiarity with relationships and it translated onto the small screen better than it would have at a multiplex theatre. It had some flaws relating to the sentimentality angle it almost started going overboard with after establishing the emotionally devoid players in the market but if you get a chance to see the bonus scenes (one topless gal looking like a dead ringer for porn performer/internet hotty Dana DeArmond), I think you'll find that the limitations of the movie were largely overcome by the extra footage that should have been added back into the flick. In short, Loveless in Los Angeles was a cute movie that showed a lot of potential on the part of the director and writer than anything else and it was okay as a lightweight offering some of you may appreciate for how accurate some of the portrayals were.

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