The new movie Fast Food, Fast Women is an Everybody’s Related Movie, a subgenre that requires every character with more than two lines of dialogue be related in one form, shape or another, and all subplots eventually ends up at one central location — re: everything is tidied up and all seemingly random scenes are found to have “been related” after all! Those with a short movie history IQ can trace the subgenre back to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and Lock, Stock, and 2 Smoking Barrels for reference.
Like all Everybody’s Related movies, Fast Food, Fast Women has a character or object at the center of the (movie’s) world that everyone interacts with in various ways. In this case it’s a woman name Bella (Anna Levine), a waitress and single woman about to turn 35 with no prospects of true love on the horizon. Into Bella’s world drives Bruno (Jamie Harris), a womanizing Englishman cab driver who has to care for two kids when his ex-wife runs off with her yoga instructor.
Add to the cast a group of grumpy old men, one of whom is looking to start a relationship via the classifieds; Bella’s friend, a hooker with a stuttering problem who can’t read or write but can play the piano; and an elderly woman looking for love now that her husband is deceased. Will Bella ever find true love in this madness? Will she ever learn to walk a straight line on her high heels? And why is the woman living across the building from old-timer Paul (Robert Modica) always flashing him from her window?
Fast Food, Fast Women is concern with love, finding love, and stalled love. The movie has its mind set on love. The characters are all given their fair share of screen time for us to get to know them. Anna Levine, as Bella, of course takes up most of the screen time, and I wish I could say Bella was an interesting character. Actress Anna Levine looks much too unhealthy and it isn’t helped that she’s a very tall woman, which exaggerates her skeletal frame, surgery-enhanced breasts, and (probably) collagen-plump lips. Mind you, I really don’t like to pick on an actor’s appearance, but Levine the person is so distractingly unhealthy looking that I found it hard to concentrate on the movie when she’s onscreen. Which is a big problem, because she’s onscreen for quite a bit. Levine’s acting is not exactly breathtaking, so one wonders why writer/director Amos Kollek chose her for the lead in the first place. At the risk of sounding like an insensitive jerk, wasn’t there someone else who was qualified for the role of Bella that didn’t look, well, so freakish?
The lead female’s distracting appearance aside, the movie is a slow mover. Like a lot of Everybody’s Related movie, Fast Food, Fast Women seeks to strike a balance between comedy and drama, although there weren’t that many laughs; on the other hand, there were plenty of awkward situations as everyone in the movie seems to be involved with someone who is way too old, or way too young, for them.
The movie also boasts one of my biggest movie pet peeve: Dumb Misunderstandings. Dumb Misunderstandings irritate me to no end because they can simply be cleared up by someone saying a simple name, a simple word, or even a simple phrase. Of course no one will say it, because the movie needs the “secret” hidden until the very end, when everything comes out into the open and everyone can go off into the sunset happily ever after.
Fast Food, Fast Women has a large, important subplot revolving around the seemingly accepted theory that Bruno and Bella would be perfect for each other if only Bella would tell the 2-kids-strapped Bruno that she loves children, instead of telling him that she hates children because — get this — her doctor friend (who shows up for only 2 short scenes) encouraged her to lie on their first date. Of course, whenever the question, or subject, of kids shows up the two confused characters run for separate hills. It is so stupid.
Fast Food, Fast Women also deals with old people in New York trying to find love. I actually found the old people’s story to be a lot more interesting than Bella’s, simply because they were more believable and had a sense of urgency, of desperation, whereas Bella was stumbling and bumbling her way through life and love, and somehow we’re supposed to see it all as “cute” or “quirky.”
In the end, everything comes together. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy it for one second.
Amos Kollek (director) / Amos Kollek (screenplay)
CAST: Anna Levine …. Bella
Jamie Harris …. Bruno
Louise Lasser …. Emily
Robert Modica …. Paul
Lonette McKee …. Sherry-Lynn