Movie Review By Heather Clisby
From the director of the critically acclaimed "The Boy Who Cried Bitch", Juan Jose Campanella, comes "Love Walked In", a sultry little story that will quietly take up residence under your skin.
Meet Jack Hanaway (typecast perfectly with Denis Leary), a sardonic piano player who suffers discontent from having to play small beach dives like the Blue Cat Lounge. He's disgusted with today's audiences who lack the appreciation and patience for masters like Gershwin; we know this for sure because he tells them casually to their faces as he's tinkling away. Just a hair before mob violence, he explains why he's going to get away with this offensive behavior, then introduces his musical partner and beautiful wife, Vicky Rivas.
He's right, of course. When Vicky Takes over, all is forgiven. Played by Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Vicky is a morsel. Though her singing voice is dubbed by Deanna Kirk, it's easy to forget as she slinks around the room casting spells in every direction.
Vicky is happy and light where Jack is dark and morose. When his old friend, Eddie (played by Michael Badalucco) turns up as a small time private eye with a money-making plan, Jack listens. Eddie's been hired by Judith Moore, a wealthy, middle-aged socialite, to catch her husband, Fred, at being unfaithful. She'll pay big but the problem is, Fred (played by the velvety Terence Stamp) remains true, even in the fetching face of temptation.
While Fred and Eddie convince Vicky to lure Fred into misbehavior, Jack is also banging out a tale on an old typewriter, so we get two stories for the price of one, each reflecting the other.
In the sub-story, circa 1930, Howard (Jack's alter-ego) is lured into evil acts by his over-powering cousin, Matt. Howard's girlfriend, Vera, gets caught up in the middle as Howard slinks lower into moral disrepair.
The best thing about "Love Walked In" is its' rough edges and haphazard attempts at trying to be a real movie. It fails so well that it becomes real and thus, charming. As Eddie says to Jack over the predictability of the blackmail plot, "This is life, Jack, it doesn't have to be original."
Narrated by Jack, the film is neither smart nor slick but achieves a true sense of sad poetry without being melodramatic. All characters are flawed and they even talk over one another, much like reality. "Every hero is limited by his creator," Jack tells us and he is certainly no hero. Campanella and co-writer, Lynn Geller, are creators blessed with knowing when to stop.
© 1999 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 2/18/98
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