Two movies I'd hoped to write about this week, Ma Vie en Rose and Bent, slipped through my clutches, leaving me with a lot of space and little to say about Kissing a Fool, Doug Ellin's quote-unquote romantic comedy. Starring David Schwimmer as a Chicago TV sportscaster with a rude and crude attitude, Kissing a Fool is one of those two-guys-and-a-girl movies; but unlike, say, Chasing Amy, there's not a whiff of ménage à trois in the air, despite the presence of Chasing Amy's Jason Lee as Schwimmer's best friend and soon-to-be best man. The woman they share is played by Mili Avital, who's yet another bright and beautiful Hollywood starlet. Where do they grow these women? (In Avital's case, Israel, where she's a top box-office draw.) Schwimmer's Max is basically Ross on "Friends," although without any of the attractive qualities. Terrified of marriage, he gets engaged to Avital's Sam because... well, because she's so bright and beautiful. But he doesn't trust her anymore than he trusts himself, so he has his best friend, Lee's Jay, woo her to see how far Jay gets with her. Jay's the one who set Max and Sam up in the first place, even though she's more Jay's type than Max's. He would have asked her out himself, but he's still pining over his ex-girlfriend--a sexually voracious model who, over the course of the movie, goes from being called Natasha to being called Natassia. This, believe it or not, was one of the few things I laughed at.
An Illinois Department of Tourism dream come true, Kissing a Fool has lots of shots of Chicago in it, but not even the City of Big Shoulders can keep this movie from hitting the ground. Schwimmer is a marvel, as usual, though his 24-going-on-4 routine goes over a lot better when he's a well-behaved 4-year-old. As for Lee, his career continues to dumbfound me. He was terrible in Chasing Amy, and he's terrible here--a Scooby Doo T-shirt substituting for characterization. Of course, even if Jay were played by, say, Matthew Perry, the movie would still be in trouble. It's as rude and crude as Max is. "Fuck chivalry!" Max shouts at one point. Now, I'm not exactly Sir Lancelot myself, but that's just not my idea of a funny line.