Love & Sex

on January 24, 2000 by Annlee Ellingson
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   A refreshing spin on the boy-meets-girl trajectory, Valerie Breiman's semi-autobiographical debut "Love and Sex" is a funny and realistic look at dating in the '90s. Kate (Famke Janssen), tired of writing puff pieces for a women's magazine, nearly gets fired for authoring an article on how giving blow jobs can cure depression. Assigned to draw on her own relationship experience, she proceeds to reflect on her past romances, from her high school French teacher to the music executive whose car she crashed into to the B-movie star who won't stop doing De Niro impressions.

   The love of her life, though, is Adam (Jon Favreau), an artist she met at one of his shows while on a date with another guy. They have a comfortable relationship, one in which "horse face" is not an insult and farting in bed is cute. But after awhile, like in all relationships, the novelty wears off, and Adam ends it, leading to a string of jealousy-inducing relationships on both sides. By the time Adam realizes that he's made a mistake, it's too late, but he still tries to woo Kate away from her new beau.

   By his own admission an atypical leading man, Favreau is both hilarious and charming, breaking through the typical courtship b.s. Janssen, an ex-model, is beautiful and down-to-earth, seeing the humor in her suitor's blunt remarks and shedding any sense of self-import in her scene as a braces-clad teenager.

   The picture suffers slightly from its flashback structure and a confused time line that becomes clearer at the end. But Breiman's observations of the dating game are both clever and accurate, making "Love and Sex" a film that viewers laugh at because they identify with it. Starring Famke Janssen, Jon Favreau, Noah Emmerich, Ann Magnuson, Cheri Oteri and Josh Hopkins. Directed and written by Valerie Breiman. Produced by Timothy Scott Bogart, Brad Wyman and Martin J. Barab. A Lions Gate release. Romantic comedy. Not yet rated. Running time: 82 min

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