HEAD OVER HEELS, a romantic comedy twist on REAR WINDOW, stars Monica
Potter as amateur sleuth Amanda Pierce and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Jim
Winston, a fashion exec who may or may not have murdered a woman in his
apartment. Amanda, a Renaissance painting restorer by trade, thinks she
saw the murder through the window of her Manhattan apartment. If you
can't figure out whether Jim is actually a murderer, consider your
inability as prima facie evidence that you need a break, since you are
clearly below your minimum movie quota.
"There are four million men in New York," Amanda complains soon after we
meet her. "Why can't I find just one. Just one!" Well, when she lays
eyes on the poster-boy-handsome Jim, it is love at first sight, at least
for her. They meet inauspiciously when the monster-sized dog he is
walking knocks her down and starts trying to hump her. Like much of the
movie, it sounds funnier that it is.
Soon, Amanda goes from being weak-kneed over her art to swooning at the
sight of a flesh-and-blood man. Breaking off their conversation on the
street, she tells Jim, "I've got the runs. I mean I've got to run."
The script by Ron Burch and David Kidd sporadically comes up with such
cute dialog, but, too often, it falls back on the old clichés of
everyone literally falling head over heels. Falling as a
laughter-inducing stunt gets old after about the second fall. Okay,
maybe the third. Given that director Mark S. Waters's first and only
other film is the wonderfully edgy, black comedy, THE HOUSE OF YES, also
featuring Prinze, one might reasonably assume that HEAD OVER HEELS would
take risks. Instead, it plays it as safe as a TV movie remake of a
Doris Day comedy.
Amanda rents a closet in an apartment owned by four models, Jade (Shalom
Harlow), Roxana (Ivana Milicevic), Candi (Sarah O'Hare) and Holly
(Tomiko Fraser), whose weights and IQs hover around 100. Amanda's room
is literally a closet, since they have turned the closet's bedroom into
a storage area large enough to hold their bulging wardrobe. Every night
outside the models' door, a horde of hunks assembles, wanting to be the
models' salivating slaves for the evening. The models treat the men
like dirt while squandering their money.
The movie never gets the proper comedic payoff from the models because
it never ratchets up the sleaze factor enough. Still, some easy jabs at
their desire to destroy their bodies for the sake of their profession do
come across as funny. One model, for example, is in the process of
having her earlobes fixed so that they will be perfectly symmetric.
As Amanda tries to find out if Jim is a dreamboat or a killer, she falls
hopelessly in love with him. The movie's fatal flaw is that theirs is a
one-way romance. We believe that Amanda loves Jim. We never believe
that the feeling is genuinely reciprocated, and their chemistry together
has as many sparks as a California blackout. A romantic comedy requires
not only laugher, but love. And love has to be a two-way street.
HEAD OVER HEELS runs 1:31. It is rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude
humor and language and would be acceptable for kids around 11 or 12 and
My son Jeffrey, age 11, gave the movie ** 1/2. Although he thought the
movie was funny in parts, especially those involving the models, he
thought the plot was flat and needed improvement.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes