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Head Over Heels

  head over heels
Freddie Prinze Jr dazzles Monica Potter with his complete lack of suave.

2001, Universal
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In 1997, director Mark Waters set forth into the cinematic world the sensible and quirky "The House of Yes." Now in 2001, Waters has the star of his new film sitting on the toilet while four models stand behind a shower curtain making "P-U" faces. Hitting rock bottom, Waters' "Head Over Heels" (IMDb listing) is the kind of picture that can stop a filmmaking career. It's recklessly awful and shamefully complacent. What happened to the texture that Waters brought to his earlier work? I don't know. Obviously trying for that Staff Of Ra-sized discovery of the perfect blend of homespun wackiness and painfully labored Hollywood romance, "Head Over Heels" finds itself veering wildly into bodily fluid humor and truckloads of visual innuendoes that test the film's rickety PG-13 rating.

To be nice, I'll simply suggest that Waters go back to his indie roots and stay there. In all honesty, "Head Over Heels" is instantly forgettable, except in the theatre, where its 80 long minutes feel like they're never going to end.

Monica Potter ("Patch Adams") stars as Amanda Pierce, a painting restorer who finds herself in need of an apartment when she catches her boyfriend in the throes of making love to another woman. The quest for a home leads her to a luxury apartment owned by four supermodels (Shalom Harlow, Ivana Milicevic, Sarah O'Hare, and Tomiko Fraser) who take on Amanda as a roommate. Amanda is prone to picking the wrong type of guy, but when she meets Jim Winston (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Amanda falls instantly into lust for her new neighbor. Able to spy on him from across an alley, Amanda believes she witnesses Jim murdering a young woman one lonely night. With the help of her self-absorbed pals — The Supermodels — Amanda sets out to find out the truth behind her new boyfriend and gets into all sorts of dippy situations while doing it. With a twist of "Rear Window" and the endless, nameless, list of romantic comedies that come around ever fiscal quarter, "Head Over Heels" embarrasses itself by not living up to its rather low standards.

I've given Freddie Prinze Jr. enough benefit of the doubt. On the exterior, Prinze appears to be a charmer. A young actor seemingly capable of wielding his charisma to defeat the forces of the bland, Prinze proves without a doubt that every positive preconceived notion I had about him was wrong. Dead wrong. In "Head Over Heels" Prinze is left to carry the male side of the acting, insisting that every smirk, every awkward pronunciation, is "Teen Beat" gold. He's bad, and even worse, he's not even believable as the macho hero of the picture. I spent the movie wanting to stick him in a locker, not hoping that he would sweep Monica Potter off her feet.

As for Ms. Potter, she isn't trying too hard to shake her uncanny resemblance to Julia Roberts, but she goes a lot farther in the charm department than her driftwood co-star. A bright, jittery actress, Potter is better than the predicaments that her character finds herself in. Staring into the face of working with four model/actresses and one Freddie Prinze Jr., I think Potter comes out relatively unscathed. I won't hold "Heels" against her. However, this is easily one of the worst films she has been associated with.

One hundred monkeys working on 100 typewriters might produce the great American novel, but only two chimps (plus four more to come up with the story) can be held responsible for "Head Over Heels". An exercise in the laziest screenwriting imaginable, "Heels" dips to indescribable depths, which, rather smugly, are executed by the filmmakers with a childish glee that would make the Farrelly Brothers cringe. Pounded into the ground are such ingenious themes as: Supermodels that are stuck up! The beautiful girl who can't find her perfect man! The safe and politically correct lesbian best friend! And when all the "ingenuity" is drained from this Crayola script, the movie resorts to scatological humor as a last resort. There is nothing interesting going on in "Head Over Heels" either dramatically or visually. It's a complete waste of time.

Filmfodder Grade: F

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