Anything but Love (review)

Billie Golden hails from Queens, New York, a singer of old standards in a dive where the bartender runs the noisy blender during her songs and the patrons are all 185 years old. But she dreams of serenading a more glamorous time, when elegant waiters served martinis and handsome young men lit the cigarettes — clipped into cigarette holders, of course — for alluring young women. Isabel Rose (Forrest Gump) cowrote (with director Robert Cary) and stars in this fluffy, fantastical little film that, when it sticks to Billie’s struggle to follow her bliss, succeeds on its own small terms. But when it veers into a different kind of standard — the run-of-the-mill romantic comedy — it fall flat. While trying to jumpstart her musical career, Billie meets both dreamboat business suit Greg (Cameron Bancroft: Mystery, Alaska) and cranky piano player Elliot (Andrew McCarthy). Of course life with Greg is great until he asks her to “tone down” her Audrey Hepburn impersonations and her kooky retro-spunky self; of course Elliot, who seems bent on being a jerk, rubs her the wrong way until one day he suddenly doesn’t. Alas, the wonderful standards soundtrack can’t disguise the lack of chemistry between Rose and either of her leading men, and if we don’t believe her passion for either man, we can’t believe she’s having a hard time choosing between them. Bonus points to Rose and Cary for shooting for a Technicolor moon. Too bad they didn’t make it.

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