Movie Review By Andrea Chase
"Hav Plenty" is a wry and witty comedy about love, class, and the meaning of success. It asks the cinematic question, "Can true love compete with a big bank account?"
The champion of true love, Lee Plenty, played by writer/director Christopher Scott Cherot, is charming, adorable, funny, cute, and a genuinely nice guy. But he's a budding, unpublished writer currently living mostly in his car and occasionally on a friend's couch. His unrequited passion is for the beautiful, sophisticated Havilland Savage, a college chum who has never returned his affection. A successful corporate climber, she's currently engaged to a rapper who's very rich, very charming, and very unfaithful.
Havilland invites Lee to spend a long holiday weekend at her mother's cushy townhouse and the real fun begins as the upper-middle class meets the contented Bohemian.
It's a piquant running joke. People discover that Lee is unemployed except for the book he's writing and, worse, homeless. Then they discover that he's not miserable. They, slaves to materialism and to the even more insidious curse of keeping up appearances, have no frame of reference for this sort of behavior.
Cherot, as Lee, plays tour guide, sometimes addressing the audience directly with his sly commentary on the action. The humor, despite an off-screen dead cat and one exploding toilet, is never mean-spirited. There's genuine empathy for these characters searching for happiness. The contrast between Lee, who knows exactly what he wants, but can't have, and the other characters, who have what they think they've always wanted, but are nonetheless still flailing about for fulfillment, is compassionate rather than judgmental.
Cherot as director is equally good. In the film's best scene, he creates an amazing shot of Chenoa Maxwell, as Havilland, riding in a car with Lee. Lee's talking about nothing in particular when it suddenly dawns on her, he's what she's been looking for. There's no mistaking it. Her face slowly lights up and her eyes begin to shine as she turns from the window to Lee. It's stunningly eloquent in a way words could never be.
"Hav Plenty" is an impressive piece of work, all the more so for being Cherot's first feature film. I can't wait to see what he'll come up with next.
© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 6/17/98
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