fish without a bicycle

fish without a bicycle

2003
Written: Jenna Mattison
Directed: Brian A. Green

This is one of those films that other people seem to like that I got absolutely nothing out of. To me it didn't seem to have anything interesting to say, and certainly nothing new. I watched it purely for the curiosity factor of it having been directed by Beverly Hills 90210 alum Brian Austin Green (credited here as Brian A. Green). Unfortunately, Green is an amateur director at best, and makes a meal of an already underpolished script.

Julianna (Jules) is a struggling actor, but more, she's a struggling human being. For some reason she's hung up on the idea of falling in love. Worse, she's in love with love, and searches in vain for the biggest losers for whom to pledge her undying affection.

Along for the ride is Jules' cynical, goth, best friend Vicki, who has a painfully obvious crush on her. Whatever Jules does, Vicki is there with a healing shot of tequila or a place to crash, but she tries to be as honest with Jules as she can. Unfortunately, the one thing she wishes she could say, that she's desperately in love with Jules, is the one thing she can't seem to push past her lips. Instead she watches Jules go from one jerk to another while she attempts to find herself.

Jules stars in a play, directed by loser number three, Michael. Co-starring in the play with her is a wonderfully nice guy, Ben (played by Brian Green), who must be overlooked simply because he is too nice. Of course, he's the man Jules has really been looking for, but by the time she figures it out she's also figured out that she doesn't actually need a man to complete her life. After going from one man to another she decides, finally, to make a break and go off on her own to find out what she really wants to be. Hence the title, lifted from the old feminist catchcry "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle".

The only bright light in this miserable, annoyingly trite comedy is Jennifer Blanc as Vicki. She has a nice mix of sarcasm and humour that helps keep the film from sinking to the level of being unwatchable. Her crush on Jules is poignant enough to pull at our heart strings, and her final confession is touching. Before letting Jules run off into the night and ignore her confession, she leans in and gets a taste of what she's been longing for - a kiss from the woman of her dreams. The moment lingers, and in the silence is some half-decent acting.

I didn't care at all what happened to Jules. I didn't care who she slept with, I didn't care about her loser boyfriends, I didn't care about what she wanted to do with her life, and I was glad when the film ended.

The entire film is marred by some really bad writing, and equally uninspired direction. Just your basic one-two shots here, so much so that it may as well be a one-camera TV show. I'm not quite sure what it was about this particular script that made them spend money on picking up cameras and shooting. It sounds like a first draft of something that could have one day gone on to be a decent TV movie, with a couple more rewrites.

All in all, a pretty forgettable film experience. It suffers from the worst cinematic sin of all; being boring. It's difficult to write about nothing films like this. There's just a big ball of nothing. Don't bother watching it unless you are really, really bored and have quite literally nothing else to do. But really, there's always laundry.

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