Anything but Love (USA; 102 min.)

directed by: Robert Cary
starring: Isabel Rose; Andrew McCarthy; Cameron Bancroft
Anything but Love
Michael says: "Writer/Producer/Actress Isabel Rose creates a dreamy homage to the romantic musicals of the 40’s and 50’s in this sweetly delightful film. Billie (Rose) is on the verge of giving up her cabaret career (singing at airport lounges) to marry an unrequited crush from high school that is now a successful lawyer. Enter a bohemian piano player (a strong turn from former brat-packer Andrew McCarthy) who hears the same music as Billie, and the stage is set for romance and decisions of the heart. Featuring a dreamily fabulous dance number, Rose warns cynics to stay away from her film. After getting tired of all the dark, somber independent films, Rose wanted to make a film that was sweet, colorful and joyous. Rose also appeared at the Opening Night Party, singing a few numbers with the band." 3 1/2 cats
Scot says: "Writer/producer/actress Isabel Rose commits indie heresy with her romantic comedy/musical film ANYTHING BUT LOVE. While CHICAGO shows the seedy underbelly of justice in America and DANCER IN THE DARK subjects its main character to increasingly heartbreaking obstacles, LOVE is a sweet film about Billie Golden (Rose), a struggling chanteuse torn between an impending marriage to her shallow, yuppie boyfriend (Cameron Bancroft) and a grueling life in show business with her shoddy but adorable piano teacher (Andrew McCarthy). It’s rare to find an indie that handles light material well, if it handles it at all, and in this regard, Love is a gem.

It’s obvious from the style and costuming, that the film is an homage to forties and fifties Hollywood, particularly musicals. Rose remarkably transforms her look from Audrey Hepburn to Betty Grable effortlessly and an incredible nightmare sequence brilliantly pays homage to fifties’ industrial musical shorts like GM’s 'Design for Dreaming.' The most remarkable tribute to these films, however, is LOVE's screenplay. While the film is unequivocally set in 21st century New York, the characters coo, cajole, and bicker with such wit and intelligence, that the dialogue is sweetly scented with essences of Joan Blondell, Cary Grant, Doris Day, and Fred Astaire. In the hands of a hack, this trick could fail miserably, but Rose evidently is more than a talented singer and actress, she’s a writer to watch.

Cynics will have a field day trashing this film, not that it doesn’t have worthy targets. Alix Korey valiantly plays her thankless role as honestly as possible as Billie’s alcoholic mother, Eartha Kitt’s cameo is shamelessly superfluous, and Billie manages to waffle between lovers about two times too often. But as Rose said when she introduced the film at High Falls, 'You probably should just leave the theater right now. This movie is not for you.' However, if you have ever considered sipping coffee outside Tiffany’s or learning the Continental, you won’t be disappointed." 4 cats