While Canadian writer-director Eric Nicholas has no fresh thoughts about the voyeuristic nature of movie going, he knows enough to make sure when high-tech peeper Doug (Colin Hanks, son of Tom) conceals his camera in a bag, its lens pokes out of the zipper like the big, fat metaphor it is.
Pasty, poorly socialized Doug is trolling a San Diego public park with his inquiring camera eye when he first sees aspiring artist Amy (Mexican actress Ana Claudia Talancon) in the park with her corgi, Rocky, brushing away tears at the unexpected sight of her ex-boyfriend making out with his new girl. Smitten, Doug follows her home and bides his time until he can break in and conceal miniature cameras and microphones in every room, transforming the unsuspecting Amy into the star of Doug's personal a 24-hour reality series. But he has more in mind than watching: After studying Amy's habits, Doug engineers a "coincidental" meeting at a local coffee place and launches his campaign to charm her pants off. They have so much in common — why, he's even carrying the very movie Amy just watched last night and believe it or not, they both cry at the exact same scenes. And it works, up to a point; Amy grows to like Doug, but not that way. When Amy's accepts a date with self-assured co-worker Matt (Jonathon Trent), Doug escalates his efforts, alternating anonymous abuse and friendly support: He secretly sabotages her relationship with Matt, arranges accidents that erode her confidence and even gets her fired from her day job, then provides a sympathetic shoulder on which to cry and helps Amy promote her paintings. But sooner or later his fantasy love affair will run aground on the shoals of reality, and something will have to give — the question is what.
Nicholas' overarching visual conceit is that the story unfolds through pieces of Doug's illicit footage, a conceit pioneered to varying degrees by Alfred Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW (1954) and Michael Powell's PEEPING TOM (1962). Nicholas shies away from the visceral impact achieved by such unflinching pictures as Gary Sherman's 39: A FILM DIRECTED BY CARROLL McKANE (2006) or the underrated reality-TV pastiche MY LITTLE EYE (2002), but through Hanks' and Talancon's subtle, naturalistic performance cultivates a human dimension often missing from thrillers. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh