VIDEO: Breathing Room

Breathing Room
Arrow Video, Inc.

T his is a love story. The two people in love are in their 20s, living in New York. Both have jobs: One is an adult-education ESL teacher, the other, a graphic designer. Both of them debate their sell-out status. One looks like Andrew McCarthy on a good day. The other is beautiful but too skinny in an aspiring-actress sort of way. Their names are David (Dan Futterman) and Kathy (Susan Floyd), respectively. They don't always get along, so they decide not to speak or see each other between their fight on Thanksgiving and their hoped-for but unlikely reconciliation on Christmas.

We care, though, because despite the cute premise (he can say "I love you" in almost every language except English), director John Sherman's film is much less cute and stupid than it could have been. Even one of Kathy's throwaway one-liners--"I'm not looking to get married. I'm just looking for a boyfriend with a lease!"--succinctly critiques the notion that all women looking for love are also looking to domesticate their lovers.

Almost consistently, this tired plot is delivered with enough charm to offset its own predictability. It doesn't hurt that the biting Nadia Dajani (of TV's deceased Ned and Stacey) is cast as Kathy's potty-mouth best friend. Floyd is a little too much of an Actress--she plays coy too easily when confusion or sincerity would suffice. And Futterman is just a lowercase actor, which suits his character's nice-guy passivity well. More than a love story, I suppose you could call this a date movie.

 
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