on March 15, 1996 by Jon Matsumoto
Made on credit cards, "Ed's Next Move" clearly aspires to be an intimate and charming Whit Stillman-type romantic comedy involving young and smart characters. But John Walsh's first feature film tends to reflect less the lifelike qualities of Stillman's "Metropolitan" or "Barcelona" and more the superficial characterizations often seen in market-directed, big-budget filmmaking. In other words, the characters in this supposedly character-based film come across as colorless and surprisingly one dimensional.
   When we first meet Ed (Matt Ross), he's just been dumped by a girlfriend who's had enough of his rigid ways. It seems this quirky twentysomething has a neurotic need to have his daily life mapped out in fine detail. Unbelievably, the breakup leads Ed to abandon his orderly existence in his native Wisconsin for the chaos of New York City, where he continues his work as a genetic researcher specializing in rice.
   The idea of this anal-retentive Midwesterner trying to find love and happiness in the concrete jungle of Manhattan would seem to be ripe for dramatic and comedic possibility. But "Ed's Next Move" never sufficiently explores these plum options. Instead, Ed moves from being an intriguingly odd duck to just another pleasant fellow with wholesome values. He eventually falls for Lee (Callie Thorne), a predictably attractive and bohemian woman who plays the violin in an obtuse folk-rock group. Unfortunately, this new love interest fails to ignite this awkward film, which is basically a low-budget attempt at trying to make a hip work with mainstream potency. It's hard to warm up to Callie, who appears somewhat stiff and detached even during her most vulnerable moments. Kevin Carroll plays Ed's roommate Ray as a hardened city type. But this is yet another character without much memorable distinction. Starring Matt Ross, Callie Thorne, Kevin Carroll and Ramsey Faragallah. Directed and written by John Walsh. Produced by Sally Roy. An Orion Classics release. Romantic comedy. Rated R for a scene of sexuality and some language. Running time: 88 min. Opens 9/27 LA/Ann Arbor/Austin/Madison.
Tags: Matt Ross, Callie Thorne, Kevin Carroll, Ramsey Faragallah, John Walsh. Produced by Sally Roy. An Orion Classics release. Romantic comedy

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