LOVE IS WORK (Johnny Kalangis). 75 minutes. Opens Friday (June 8). Rating: NN Rating: NN
Love Is Work , and so is sitting through Johnny Kalangis 's rambling, precious rip-off of superior ensemble relationship comedy/dramas.
Five couples at Queen West's Rhino hash out their grievances, big and small. One pair deal with possible infidelity. Another, on that crucial fourth date, are deciding if they're going to get into each other's pants. Two women, once lovers, talk about one's impending baby shower. And so on.
The dialogue came about through five hour-long structured improvisations, no doubt meant to capture a spontaneous feel. This works well for the hot date scenario -- it doesn't hurt that the couple are played by terrifically in-the-moment actors Fabrizio Filippo and Shauna MacDonald , each flirtatiously testing the other's compatiblity.
But it feels less convincing for couples who we're supposed to believe have been together for years, even decades. Conversations aren't just about what's happening now; they're about the past, and a good script can suggest history without seeming heavy-handed.
Too bad Kalangis didn't include a linking device -- a server, for instance, with his or her own story -- to create smoother transitions.
The main reason to see this is for a handful of good performances. Besides MacDonald -- who's like a libidinous Meg Ryan -- and Filippo, look for local theatre actors Ryan McVittie and Scott McCord , who add, respectively, lots of pathos and humour to the film.
A shame that even in colourful T.O. all the characters are Caucasian.