(Air Date: Week Of 10/02/96)
O.K., we've experienced Kraft's light mayonnaise, and light rock, and now it's time for a low-calorie movie -- Ed's Next Move. Call it Woody Allen light. The hero, Ed, isn't an angst-riddenwazzu , intellectual New Yorker, but a regular Wisconsin kind of guy who moves to New York only after his girlfriend breaks up with him. The soundtract doesn't have the musical panache of a Woody Allen film, with the likes of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman creating a jazz love fest. Instead, we get the tentative, folksy strains of a group you'll never hear from again, and probably won't care to hear from again, a group coincidentally named Ed's Redeeming Qualities.
The characters aren't as self-aware, the screenplay isn't nearly as original and dazzling. But -- like a Woody Allen film, Ed's Next Move offers a heavy dose of New York, and a forlorn, sensitive guy searching for connection, with a macho who has all the luck with women. There are also sight gags and lots of one-liners. In fact, we get at least one re-cycled Woody Allen joke -- when a mouse is caught in Ed's apartment, his horrified date asks, "Are you going to kill it?" and Ed answers, "What do you suggest -- rehab?"
There's one recurring the theme -- New York is a crazy, trippy city. You take it on its own terms, or not at all. A totally normal looking middle-aged woman in Ed's apartment complex brings out her gun and shoots his alarm clock when it falls, buzzing, into the courtyard. He gets a ticket because his trash ends up in a public garbage can. The Slavic woman in the coffee shop with her heavy Eastern European accent tells him that he has an accent. And at a party, where he has the chance to meet more girls than there are in his home town, he doesn't impress the performance artists and stock brokers by saying he does genetic research on an Indonesian strain of rice.
Ed needs a girl, that's the thing, and he has several false starts in romancing Anne, a normal looking girl he meets in a coffee shop, but who turns out to be a complicated musician with a controlling boyfriend. She finally agrees to out with him, and their first date, where he cooks dinner in his apartment, is a well-crafted, totally believable segue from awkward conversation, to self-revelation, to awkward moves on the couch, to lingering first kisses that seem to promise more. . . until that mouse starts squeaking in the trap.
Ed's Next Move is human, though never poignant, and funny, though never brilliant, a film that, like Ed himself, knows its limits. No reason not to check it out when it comes out on video.
Copyright 1996 Mary Weems
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