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NBFF 2014 Review: Lovesick

nbff thumb 2014Opening night at the 15th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival was a nice start to what should be an exciting festival to keep track of.  Given the difficulty I have had at nailing down exactly which films to check out on what days, due to interest in so many, it seems like I am in for a lot of good, interesting, or at least entertaining features.  With that in mind, I was happy to find the opening film, Lovesick, to be enjoyable enough, for what it is.  I say this because the opening night film tends to be a more palatable feature, in an effort to please the general audience as a whole, given the crowded attendance in the Big Newport Theater on Opening Night.  The film is simple enough, but the cast makes it a bit more appealing.

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Lovesick is a romantic comedy focused on Charlie Darby (Matt LeBlanc) and his condition.  Charlie is basically a great guy.  He works as a grade-school principal and is well-liked by all the students, as well as his friends, who want to support him in finding love.  Charlie needs the support, as he is hindered by a problem.  While some people say they can be ‘crazy in love,’ Charlie literally goes crazy, whenever he is in love.  He has a psychosis that causes him to become insanely paranoid when he gets close to his girlfriends.  Hopefully he will find a way to get past it, as his latest romance involves Molly (Ali Larter), who may just be the perfect girl.

The film is mostly harmless.  It has enough charm to get by, without trying to add any sort of edge to its story.  It has enough adult content to earn it an ‘R-rating’, were it to eventually find distribution, which I am sure it will, but it does not quite need that material to make it any better.  If anything, it feels a bit more natural to see characters not hold back, when it comes to brushing against language, but there are also some raunchy bits involving a couple supporting characters.  I am getting off track though, as the film is mainly a sweet little rom-com that plays off the likability of LeBlanc, 10 years after Friends has ended.

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Now, it is not as if LeBlanc has done nothing since the main role he has been known for.  He is currently on Showtime’s Episodes, which has earned him a Golden Globe.  That said, LeBlanc’s work as Charlie certainly plays off what he has proven to make endearing about himself over the years, his innocence (which I hear is an aspect that is made fun of in Episodes).  It would be hard to accept Matt LeBlanc in a villain role, because he seems like a pretty nice guy in the roles I have seen him in.  He plays Charlie as a really nice guy too, which makes it interesting enough to watch, as he battles a literal mental illness that is never pronounced enough to make it seem drastic to his health, but it is also not handled in a way that makes fun of people that suffer from a psychosis, outside the realm of a romantic comedy.

It really is the Matt LeBlanc show for the majority of this film, as he is featured in nearly every scene and has a way of creating easy, but effective humor.  That said, the supporting cast is good enough as well.  Ali Larter’s Molly is not very complicated at all, but Larter at least seems game to work as the love interest and has nice chemistry with LeBlanc.  Adam Rodriguez plays Jason, Charlie’s best friend and the narrator of the film, who is good enough as well.  Chevy Chase steps in as a neighbor that does not quite represent the older version of Charlie, but really just a lonely man who likes having a friend around.  And then there’s Rachel Harris, who simply has to play the role of repugnant rebound date.

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Lovesick was directed by Luke Matheny, an Oscar-winner for Best Live-Action Short Film a few years ago, and written by Dean Young, best known for his writing work on King of the Hill.  Together, they have made a film that is not all that ambitious, but it does not try to be either.  It follows a lot of traditional beats of a romantic comedy, but never veers too far off course in a bad way.  It comes close, as seeing Charlie’s psychosis in action can be frustrating, but it really comes down to how much you enjoy this cast.  It moves at a decent pace and has a screenplay that wants to emphasize simple fun, with no real drama to slow down its race to the inevitable.

Thanks to an appealing cast, Lovesick is fine effort.  It is a likable film that lasts about as long as it needs to and will provide some laughs along the way.  It is not out-and-out hilarious, but it has just enough humorous moments and a fun performance from Matt Blanc to keep it all moving along.  For a low-budget rom-com, that is enough for a pass.  Some complexity may have allowed the film to take some chances, but as far as a crowd-pleasing feature goes, Lovesick is too non-offensive for me to want to push any in ill-will towards it.  And it’s also nice to see Joey Tribbiani on the big screen again.

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Click on the poster to visit the Newport Beach Film Festival website,
and be sure to check back to Why So Blu throughout the week
for more of my coverage of the festival!

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

1 Response to “NBFF 2014 Review: Lovesick”


  1. Brian White

    After reading your review and being a fan of Matt LeBlanc I think I would like to give this one a chance one fine day. I remember seeing this on your FB posts last night and reading about the film itself. Great coverage!