Still Breathing

on May 01, 1998 by Ian Hodder
   Rest assured, lonely hearts: A perfect romantic partner for every citizen of Earth does indeed exist. The hard part, of course, is finding him or her. Take the case of young Fletcher ("George of the Jungle's" Brendan Fraser), a Texas street performer, and Roz ("Eden's" Joanna Going), a professional gold digger from Los Angeles. Despite their differences, the duo make a love connection thanks to Fletcher's psychic ability and a case of mistaken identity. It's cruel irony, however, that the movie about their attraction fails to engage its audience.
   Like an unwanted suitor, "Still Breathing" strives to make us like it. Director/writer James F. Robinson infuses the film with "Sleepless in Seattle"-style plot twists and tidbits of Hollywood mysticism a la "Forrest Gump." The problem isn't Robinson's corny script--which could succeed under better conditions--but rather the film's lifeless direction and, most of all, fatal choice of stars. As Fletcher, a puppeteer with psychic abilities and a passion for collages and stone sculptures, Fraser is more doofus than artist. He'd be better cast as a gym-rat who beats up puppeteers. (Incredibly, this role won Fraser best actor kudos at the Seattle fest.)
   As Roz, Going has the conniving bitch role down pat, but she never exhibits any interest in Fletcher and their supposed love affair; there are zero sparks in this relationship. Robinson's direction is quirky and plodding, dragging on and on while the stars struggle to connect. (One dull scene is inadvertently enlivened when an off-the-set car drives by in the background.) There are lyrical touches between acts, mostly of the watching-a-leaf-fall-from-the-heavens variety, but they do nothing but extend the agony. "Still Breathing" intends to be pure romance. As a result, it contains no comedic intentions, and therefore no chuckles, nor does it seek to thrill or chill. Instead, Robinson bets the film on generating a sweet, magical tale. Well, that vision never materializes and the unintended result serves only as a date movie for couples on the wane. Starring Brendan Fraser and Joanna Going. Directed and written by James F. Robinson. Produced by James F. Robinson and Marshall Persinger. No stateside distributor set. Romance. Rated PG-13 for sensuality and a scene of violence. Running time: 109 min
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