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For Love or Money
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and released in 1993, For Love Or Money revolves around a man named Doug Ireland (Michael J. Fox) who works as a concierge at an upscale Manhattan hotel. Hoping to one day open a hotel of his own on Roosevelt Island, Doug takes good care of his customers and has saved as much money as he can, but once he gets the opportunity to take over an hold hotel he finds himself in need of a quick three million dollars to make it happen.
Doug is friendly with wealthy Christian Hanover (Anthony Higgins) and goes to him with a business proposal and is asked, in turn, to entertain Andy Hart (Gabrielle Anwar), Christian's beautiful mistress who is expecting Andy to leave his wife, Eleanor (Paula Laurence), for her any day now. Eventually, Doug learns that Christian has no intention of leaving his wife for Andy but doesn't interfere, not wanting to ruin the chances of getting his hotel financed. But of course, as Doug and Andy get to know one another better he starts to fall in love with her.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out where this is all going, who the bad guy is, what's going to happen with Doug and Andy or where this storyline will end up. For Love Or Money is about as generic as romantic comedies get, and that's saying something for a genre that seems to pride itself on being as generic as possible. The script seems to be based entirely on clichés, adding nothing to really ramp up tension or make its characters particularly unique. It feels very thrown together despite the fact that co-writers Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner have some decent credits in their respective filmographies (they co-wrote The Jewel Of The Nile, but then, also co-wrote Superman IV: The Quest For Peace).
But despite all this, the movie is watchable. If that isn't high praise for the script or for Sonnenfeld's surprisingly plain direction, it is for the three leads in the film. We know early on that Christian isn't a good guy, after all, he's cheating on his wife. He puts money over ethics and will seemingly do anything to add to his already substantial accumulation of wealth regardless of who he has to screw over to do it. Higgins plays this part well enough, in that we don't like him, so mission accomplished. Gabrielle Anwar plays her role well. Andy isn't super likeable at first, despite the fact that she is very beautiful, but we warm to her as the story progresses (again, you expect that to happen in a movie like this so it isn't shocking when it occurs). Fox fares well enough here playing the slightly skittish type of character that he's always played well. It's hard to dislike the guy, he just seems nice and friendly and decent and those traits make Doug an everyman type that we can get behind. Fox and Anwar wind up having decent chemistry together here.
But really, this movie is as pedestrian and by the numbers as they come.
For Love Or Money arrives on Region A Blu-ray from Kino in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The feature looks pretty nice here, detail is quite strong here, if rarely reference quality, and there are no issues with any noise reduction or edge enhancement related problems. The picture is very clean from start to finish, you'll be pretty hard pressed to find any print damage here of note. Skin tones look good, black levels are fine.
A 16-bit English language DTS-HD option is provided in 2.0 Stereo format with subtitles offered up in English only. The lossless track is of perfectly nice quality, with nicely balanced levels and clean sounding dialogue. The score also sounds nice. No issues here.
Extras start off with an audio commentary by entertainment journalist and author Bryan Reesman. It's a well-researched track that offers plenty of details on the careers and lives of Sonnenfeld, Fox and Anwar and that goes over the film's production history and reception upon release.
Additionally, the disc includes a trailer for the feature as well as menus and chapter selection options.
For Love Or Money is a perfectly palatable rom-com, despite the fact that it's completely generic and completely predictable. Kino's Blu-ray isn't stacked with extras but the trailer offers up some interesting information about its history and the presentation is decent enough. A nice high definition upgrade for established fans, a fine rental for those looking turn off their brains for some sweet, inoffensive laughs.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.