And Then Came Love

2007, Movie, NR, 99 mins

Review

AND THEN CAME LOVE
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Richard Schenkman and Caytha Jentis' modern romantic comedy revolves around artificial-insemination regret and the havoc it wreaks on the life of a high-powered journalist.

Single New York mom Julie Davidson (Vanessa Williams), who contributes the popular "Choices" column to chic "Metropolitan" magazine, is beginning to doubt some of her own choices, specifically her choice to become pregnant by an anonymous sperm donor. Her qualms have nothing to do with her status-conscious mother's (Eartha Kitt) relentless campaign to marry her off so the poor child can have a father. She's well-heeled enough to afford a nanny and has a boyfriend, roving photographer Ted (Michael Boatman), who wants to marry her. The trouble is that 6-year-old Jake (Jeremy Gumbs) has started acting out at school, fighting with children who tease him for not having a dad, and Julie becomes convinced that her sperm donor wasn't the high-achieving lawyer-to-be he claimed. Maybe he was a drunk or a drug addict or, worst of all, "an actor," as her gay best friend, drama critic Stuart Blankerman (Stephen Spinella) sneers. So Julie calls in a favor from a PI she knows and gets the donor's name: Paul Cooper (Kevin Daniels). Paul at first appears to be her worst nightmare: an unemployed, Ivy League dropout and wannabe actor whom she finds sucking up drinks in a low-rent bar.

Then life does its usual trick, messing with Julie's plans: Paul turns out to be a genuinely good guy who's trying to follow his own path rather than the one mapped out by his controlling, conservative father. He loves kids, hits it off instantly with Jake, and even wins over the supercilious Stuart with his performance in a Weehawken, New Jersey, production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Should Julie break it off with Ted and pursue Paul... as soon as she figures out how to tell him that they didn't cross paths by accident and that Jake is his son? What's a high-strung control freak with an overbearing mom to do?

The film falters on many fronts, including truly wooden performances (Boatman and Daniels) and a thoroughly uninteresting heroine: Julie Davidson is self-centered, spoiled, rude and generally insufferable, making it awfully hard to empathize with her predicament, no matter how much of a gargoyle her mother is. The film's only bright spot is the weirdly sinister Stuart, whom Spinella seems to have conceived as a hybrid of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS' Dr. Chilton (Spinella's resemblance to actor Anthony Heald is striking) and Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lector himself. The character doesn't make much sense, but he's hugely entertaining. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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