he 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
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
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.
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.