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:: Head Over Heels

With a cast comprising high-profile models and youthful exuberant actors, sexual innuendo underpins the theme of “Head Over Heels”, therefore the “M” rating. As in the film “Coyote Ugly”, the titillation factor is just that, without showing anything.

Amanda Pierce (Monica Potter) is an art restorer at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she has had bad luck in her taste in men. After an episode of finding her latest beau in bed with another woman, she looks for another apartment and moves in with four fashion models (Sarah O’Hare as Candi, Shalom Harlow as Jade, Ivana Milicevic as Roxana, and Tomiko Fraser as Holly). The models lead the celebrity party life, yet seem bored by what’s around them, especially the men who wait outside their apartment each night looking for dates.

Amanda soon meets her next Mr Perfect, Jim Winston (Freddie Prinze Jr), a fashion executive who lives within eyeshot. She falls (literally) for him when together at a party. It seems as though the attraction is mutual. It’s interesting to note Freddie Prinze Jr graduating to a 20-something character following his recent fame in teen and college romantic comedies. They haven’t been too successful and one wonders if he has just chosen ordinary roles, or whether he’s contributing to the film’s average standing. It may be the latter, at this stage. Trouble soon brews for Jim and Amanda when she sneaks a peek at his apartment nearby to see him apparently smash a baseball bat into a young girl. Amanda and the models decide to investigate, which leads to many complicated situations. Monica asks herself whether she was hallucinating because she is still sweet on Jim and finds him difficult to resist. What is she to do?

The whole is-he or isn’t-he a killer takes a back seat to a series of sub-plots. Fun surrounds Amanda’s roommates, with the surgery-addicted Candi, and the droll lines from Russian bombshell Roxana providing a few laughs. They are good sports and enjoy making fun of their image.

In being a market-driven movie, “Head Over Heels” will be watchable, with the good-looking stars, but the film doesn’t have any overriding creative force. Director Mark S Waters tries maybe too hard for the shock value while, at the same time, trying to convey a romantic comedy element. Unfortunately, Monica Potter and Freddie Prinze Jr don’t provide the sizzle required for the film. The attractive Potter gamely plays the comic klutz, even allowing herself to be mounted by a horny dog. It’s her charisma that holds the film when it teeters on the brink of collapse. Australian audiences will be interested in the acting debut of Sarah O’Hare. She has taken many acting lessons and she creates some good slapstick pleasure for the viewers. “Head Over Heels” is a bit too improbable and thin, despite the glamour attached. It could have been more substantial with a more comically gifted male actor cast in the lead role.

Screening on general release