Head Over Heels


Directed by: Mark S. Waters
Written by:Ron Burch, David Kidd
Starring: Monica Potter, Freddie Prinze Jr, Shalom Harlow, Ivana Milicevic, Sarah O’Hare
Released: May 31, 2001
Grade: C-

Head Over Heels is a mind-numbingly horrendous film.  I have trashed all the recent teen comedies including Down To You and Boys And Girls and enough is enough.  Four writers are credited with the screenplay (not good) and have taken the “best of the worst” from past teen flicks (including Freddie Prinze Jr) to make a super-stinker.

The film was under my skin before the opening credits had even finished.  In the most ludicrous plot I have witnessed in some time, we meet Amanda (Potter) as a successful painting restorer who has sworn off men since she inadvertently walked in on her boyfriend sleeping with another.  Forced to find new living arrangements she finds a luxurious apartment that is home to four models (including Australian Sarah O’Hare) enjoying a swanky lifestyle.

In the lobby, she meets young fashion executive Jim Winston (Prinze Jr) and in a gooey moment, they both fall “head over heels”.  It transpires that Jim lives in the apartment across the street which is clearly visible from Amanda’s place.  Having arranged a first date on Saturday, Amanda is keeping a close eye on her man but one night after a party, the shadows through his curtains give the appearance that he’s beaten a young girl over the head with a baseball bat.

Normally I would stop at this point to save the surprise for those that actually do want to see the movie but given the circumstances, I need to spoil it for you.  It so happens that Jim is actually an FBI agent and the killing was only an act because a Russian mafia guy was also watching from another window and Jim’s cover would be blown otherwise.  In the “dramatic” conclusion, the four models, Amanda and Jim end up at a fashion show where the bad guys are apprehended, and Jim fesses up to Amanda that his real name is Bob Smouthe.  After Amanda’s whole “I can’t deal with this” episode (lasting 5 minutes), they both realise they can’t live without each other.  Awwww.

I don’t know why Freddie Prinze Jr continues with this teen crap (he’s now 25 years old).  Is it because he’s such a bad actor that studios won’t offer him serious roles?  I must also use this opportunity to reprehend Sarah O’Hare for the worst performance of the year.  She plays an Australian and here’s a sampling of what she had to say - “Of course I love water - I come from Australia which is an island”.  There were also several jokes about uncles and cousins in the outback wanting to sleep with her. 

This is the kind of film where I wish I could record my own commentary for the DVD so that I could dissect and destroy every single scene.  The film started rolling at 7:10pm and I walked out just as the final credits started rolling at 8:27pm.  That’s just 77 minutes of actual film and I’ll bet it was cut 100 times before being released.  In hindsight, they should have cut the whole film and burnt it to a crisp.

I don’t want people thinking I’m overly harsh so as final proof, here’s a few quotes from some of America’s leading critics - “Prinze’s acting has the soulful depth of a glass of Nestle’s Quick and the complex nuances of a toasted slice of Wonder Bread”, “the first truly tasteless motion picture of 2001”, “the sorriest piece of work that’s been greenlit in over a year of weak Hollywood product”, “it doesn’t just insult our intelligence, it assumes we haven’t any”, “completely idiotic”, “as dumb as a post”, and “apocalyptically bad”.  Mr Cranky himself said “I was looking for an aerosol can and a match so I could set fire to the screen”.

I’ll finish with one final thought from critic Mike Clark of USA Today which had me chuckling most of all - “It feels like a movie some other actress rejected - you can almost see Sandra Bullock using the screenplay manuscript as a coffee coaster.”  Isn’t it funny that the reviews are more entertaining than the film?  Normally not a good sign.