Head Over Heels (2001) Movie Review

I dislike movies like “Head Over Heels” not for reasons you might expect. I dislike it because it takes what could have been an interesting premise for a movie and turns it into crap. Pure, unadulterated, and nonsensical crap. In the hands of someone else, “Heels” could have been a good diversion — a minor one, but one nevertheless. It could have been mildly entertaining, in the way that high-concept comedies like “The In-Laws” and “Bruce Almighty” are.

Instead, it’s just stupid, brainless, and worthless crap.

Monica Potter, who looks like the poor man’s Julia Roberts, plays the clumsy Amanda, an art restorer who has the worst luck with men. After her latest boyfriend cheats on her in their bed, she moves into a flat that is way too fabulous to actually exist and is currently being occupied by 4 supermodels. The supermodels are played by real-life supermodels, and are the film’s comedic foil to Amanda’s (mostly) straight man. Living across the building from them, his entire apartment visible to be spied on, is handsome Jim (Freddie Prinze Jr.), a fashion executive who Amanda immediately falls for.

About 30 minutes into the movie, and after too much lame comedy, Amanda thinks she has seen Jim kill a woman in his apartment. Is her new boyfriend a killer? Can her supermodel friends help her to investigate? And for God’s sake, why does it take 60 minutes before Jim confesses that he’s in actuality an FBI agent under deep cover?

You’ll notice I have no qualms about spilling the film’s secret, even though the film itself seems bound and determine to keep up the charade of “did he or didn’t he?” about Jim to the bitter end. This might work, unless of course you’re not a total idiot and knows that Freddie Prinze Jr. would never (and could never) play a role that required him to be a murderer. Knowing full well that Jim isn’t a killer and that there’s something else going on, we are nevertheless forced to sit through the script’s bumbling attempts at comedy as Amanda takes it upon herself to investigate Jim.

And about 60 minutes later some Russian guys show up and try to kill Jim or something along that line.

The saving grace of “Head Over Heels” is Monica Potter (“Con Air”), who is very over the top as the clumsy Amanda. Potter’s knees get weak whenever she feels a strong attraction to someone — although she also gets weak-kneed around paintings. Amanda’s roommates are one-note caricatures, and I’ve seen better parodies of supermodels in “Zoolander”, which had its tongue firmly in cheek. Once you get over the fact that models are playing exaggerations of models — i.e. mocking themselves — the novelty wears off real fast. Of note is Shalom Harlow, who besides looking sickeningly thin was also much better as Val Kilmer’s doomed wife in “The Salton Sea”.

Comparing the premise of “Head Over Heels” to “Rear Window”, the movie it’s obviously patterned after, is blasphemy. The Hitchcock movie had a purpose. “Heels” is just stupid trash trying to capitalize on 12-year old girls who don’t know “Rear Window” exists. And it’s not even good trash, with makes it doubly terrible.

Usually I can find a nugget or two to latch onto, even in the worst movies. But there’s nothing here. “Heels” is devoid of entertainment value. Even the idea of Freddie Prinze Jr. as “Mr. Perfect”, as the characters keep calling him (apparently under the assumption that if they say it enough times the audience will start to believe it), is laughable.

All of this is a shame, because I was really looking forward to “Head Over Heels” after reading its logline. The story had potential; the movie that resulted from it doesn’t.

Mark S. Waters (director)
CAST: Monica Potter …. Amanda Pierce
Freddie Prinze Jr. …. Jim Winston
Shalom Harlow …. Jade
Ivana Milicevic …. Roxana Milla Slasnakova

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