Love or Whatever
R1 - America - Canteen Outlaws
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (17th September 2014).
The Film

Three months away from turning thirty, life seems to be going as planned for control freak psychiatrist Corey (Tyler Poelle). His physical trainer boyfriend Jon (David Wilson Page) resents the amount of attention Corey gives to his patents; but when he discovers that Corey plans on proposing to him, Jon freaks out and explores his "flexi-sexual" (a term that annoys Corey to no end) side in the back seat of a car with a woman he meets at a bar. Corey is hurt when Jon moves out, but humiliated when he discovers that his patient Melissa (Jenica Bergere), a neurotic and insecure divorcee, is the woman Jon has been seeing. Torn between pumping her for information and warning her about Jon's impulsiveness when she reveals that she has serious feelings for him, Corey refers her to another doctor and tries to move on with his life. After three typically disastrous attempts at online dating (four if you include the "stabby" puppet), his lesbian poet/coffee shop owner sister Kelsey (Jennifer Elise Cox) turns him on to Grindr where he spots Pete (Joel Rush), the hunky pizza delivery man he has been crushing on who just happens to also perform at Kelsey's poetry readings. Since Pete's profile has the non-specific "Friendship, Love, or Whatever", Corey isn't even sure if Pete is gay much less remotely interested in him. Of course, when they start dating, Corey can't understand why the "pizza god" is even attracted to him. Insecurities lead to Corey falling back into bed with Jon who has unsurprisingly reconsidered his "flexi-sexuality" when things get serious with Melissa. This leads to a humiliating blow-up involving nudity, shrieking, swearing, and pizza that has consequences for Corey's relationships with his sister, Pete, and his career when Melissa goes viral with her extreme feelings of betrayal from both her love and her therapist.

LOVE OR WHATEVER is definitely funny; but the problem with it is: it's sitcom funny. The performances from the lead quintet are charming (even the first scene with subplot couple Jon and Melissa is a more engaging "meet cute" than we get for the main couple), but the actors' delivery and the comic sequences seem pitched to an absent studio audience like a mishmash of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and any number of network relationship sitcoms but augmented with R-rated, albeit tame, sex and nudity (Kate Flannery also has a comic relief supporting role as one of Corey's eccentric patients with a bestiality fixation in a variation on her sex-addicted character on THE OFFICE). There are plenty of romantic comedy clichés to be had: Corey needs to learn to be more spontaneous (and even his attempts at spontaneity are meticulously planned out), Corey's sister is effortlessly successful at a string of uncommitted relationships, and it's not easy being pretty for hunky Pete who has a heart of gold and the soul of a poet. Corey and Jon do the scene where think they've reached the same conclusion about their relationship wind up saying opposite things simultaneously, and Corey turns to junk food post-break-up. When Corey meets his online dates in person, they turn out to be insane, deceitful, or nothing like their profile picture in person (i.e. old). Corey goes borderline stalker at times as he tries to concoct impromptu meetings with Pete (but it's all played out lightly), and is caught in embarrassing situations when he actually does run into the man of his dreams. Director Rosser Goodman likes her characters too much to let any of them truly suffer for their deplorable behavior, but that's also pretty much in keeping with the romantic comedy formula. Even if it feels more like a feature-length network sitcom pilot than a theatrical film, and is generally rather unambitious in terms of its romantic comedy plot, LOVE OR WHATEVER is still funny, entertaining, and even sweet.
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Video

Nothing to complain about this single-layer, progressive, anamorphic DVD from TLA Releasing offshoot Canteen Outlaws. The film was shot in high definition, and the slick and clean videography adapts well to standard definition at a mid-range bitrate.

Audio

Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo only, but it's not an adventurous track even during city exterior scenes (with music often disguising the simplicity of the sound mix).

Extras

There are no extras for short trailer (which doesn't really sell the film that well) and two trailers for other more dramatic releases from the company including LA BELLE PERSONNE director Christophe Honoré's MAN AT BATH which offers few clues as to the film's story other than Chiara Mastroianni's fascination with porn star François Sagat's ass.

Packaging

Standard Amaray casing and single-sided glossy cover insert.

Overall

Unambitious, undemanding, and inoffensive (well, for normal people) gay comedy. Too expensive at suggested retail price for a single-layer disc with a bells and whistles-free transfer and no extras, but can probably be rented or streamed at some point for interested parties.

The Film: B+ Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: D+ Overall: C+

 


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