In reviewing romantic comedies, one of the best descriptions of a movie is to call it as “cute.” It basically means that the movie is definitely not great, but one is trying really, really hard not to classify it as abysmal.
And with many people, the word “cute” is probably the best description for “Dorfman in Love.”
“Dorfman in Love” follows a young woman named Deb Dorfman (played by Sara Rue), who has a crush on a handsome international news reporter Jay (played by Johann Urb). Jay gets an assignment to cover events in Afghanistan and Deb volunteers to babysit his cat and house sit his loft in Downtown Los Angeles.
As a girl from San Fernando Valley, she must adjust to the hustling fast lifestyle of Downtown Los Angeles with bars, night clubs and life in studio apartments. She eventually befriends a neighbor named Cookie (played by Haaz Slieman), who loves the promiscuous lifestyle.
And throughout this relocation, she has a brother Daniel (played by Jonathan Chase) and father (played by Elliot Gould) who gets involved with her life in Downtown LA.
As the movie progresses, she learns to start falling in love with Cookie but still trying to win Jay’s affections if he ever comes back.
As the title suggests, it’s all about Dorfman falling in love. The real question is with who? The neighbor Cookie is a charming likeable fellow who opens her eyes to Downtown LA. However, Jay steps back into her life and she struggles to choose between the two men.
But, the problem is with all the side characters that supposedly provide the comedy to the movie. Her brother Daniel is a sex addict who ends up as an S&M partner to a couple of neighbors (played by Haley Marie Norman and Sophie Monk). She has a pessimistic grumpy old father who seems just tagging along with her life. And even the two men, Cookie and Jay, have personality quirks that supposed to be funny.
Suppose to be.
The comedy overall fell short being laughable—just smiles. The jokes and the personality quirks may work in a television sitcom, but not enduring for a full length movie.
And the storyline (penned by TV scribe Wendy Kout) missed the important believable element of this story—a girl transplanted from the suburbs to the city. The problem is that San Fernando Valley is only like 15 miles from Downtown Los Angeles. It’s really doubtful for a young adult in the suburb never experiencing night clubs, open markets and lofts—especially in the Los Angeles. Let’s be real here.
The best highlight is Rue still comes off as her likeable self since the being on television such as “Rules of Engagement” and “Less Than Perfect.” And it was not enough to cross that finish line.
So in the genre of romantic comedies, the best way to describe a so-so movie is “cute.”
“Dorfman in Love” is in limited release in select cities.