Love Stinks (1999) — When true love goes truly sour

“Hi. It’s Seth. Leave me a message. And if you want to talk to Chelsea you should REALLY ask yourself why!”

PoolMan’s rating: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wanna do it again.

PoolMan’s review: One of the sinful little secrets of my life is that for a brief couple of months, my brother (who affectionately calls himself “PoolBoy”, isn’t that cute?) worked for Justin’s arch enemy, Blockbuster Video. It was only a temporary thing as he’s gone on to wreak havoc with the phone company, but while he was there, he was part of their “So And So’s Pick” program. Not unlike PoolMan’s Picks, each employee had to come up with a weekly selection of movies they recommended. Chris’ list varied and changed, but for his entire short career with the Devil’s Video Store, one movie never left his selection list: Love Stinks.

And with good reason, too. Starring French Stewart (from TV’s 3rd Rock from the Sun, in his breakthrough role as a man who can OPEN HIS EYES!) and Bridgette Wilson (the blonde from Mortal Kombat), Love Stinks is two basic movies; the romantic comedy where a couple meets, falls in love, and generally makes the world sick with cute googoo noises, and then a revenge flick where said couple proceeds to tear itself apart in a whirlwind of lawsuits, bungee jumping cats, hair removal tonic, and red-hot enemas. Thankfully, this is done in a really, really funny way.

The first half of the movie, the romance between Seth and Chelsea, is flat-out great. The Elvis seduction scene is seriously something to be seen… it was just so damned funny I couldn’t believe it, and I very much wanted to be the squinty guy on the bed at that moment. And I’m not even an Elvis fan. Yikes.

The “fight and bite” half of the movie is also fun, but not quite enough. There’s some original stuff (like the hair removal juice in Seth’s conditioner forcing him to wear a rug for most of the second half), but the farting-in-bed jokes didn’t really grab me. Call me crazy. You can kind of hear the script coming off the rails a little bit. But there are some great laughs here, too. If you don’t cheer for Seth in the ending scene, you’re mad. Mad I tell you!

There was a LOT of room for Love Stinks to go really wrong. I mean, the opening half is all romcom stuff, but the great, believable chemistry between Stewart and Wilson really made it work for me. The jokes crackle, the characters keep fightin’ on, and the laughs don’t stop. Definitely lots of fun.

So look at that, PoolBoy has some taste after all! It’s not perfect, but Love Stinks is worth it. Give ‘er!

Justin’s rating: Love gets air fresheners

Justin’s review: Marriage is a mystery to most men. Not the act itself, nor the commitment level, nor even the deep seated desire to be one you care most about. No, the mystery is in the ultra-fanatical rabid-like frothing obsession with this one day, making it a be-all, end-all experience to life. You might know the sweetest, gentlest female in the world, but get her near the idea of having her own wedding, and she will transform into the Wedded Werewolf of Doom, willing to commit acts of sheer murder to anyone standing in the way of her glorious day or glory. This includes the groom, who is destined to stand there like a freak show that the actual circus barely tolerates.

For those of you who think I’m abusing exaggeration, well, you have never been near one who’s been engaged. For a more thorough education on the subject, take a peek at the film Love Stinks.

French Stewart-Something (who the heck names their kid after a nationality? Are there really a lot of children going around with names like “English” and “Chinese” and “Yugoslavian” anyway?) is a semi-sweet squinty guy who writes for a sitcom. He falls for — and vice versa — Billy Madison’s girlfriend, Bridgette Wilson. The romance itself, including the aforementioned Elvis Seduction Scene (I’m really capitalizing things too much in this review, I shall stop), is funny and sort of inspiring for us guys, who realize that we can get a girl like Bridgette if we only star in a movie with her. Elvisette trades in what remnants of actual feelings she has for Frenchy in exchange for — dum dum DUM! — a crippling fixation for marital bliss.

She blackmails him in order to get him to marry her. Sure, it’s more messy and hilarious and cat-filled than that, but all you have to understand is that the girl turns BAD. And for those who say, “Well, this is a movie, things like this happen in movies only,” then you’re dumb. Of course women blackmail guys into getting married every day. It’s so common that they even stopped doing special news bulletins on it. Sure, some guys voluntarily step into the chapel, even a few with the knowledge of what they’re getting into. But I have personally seen many a crafty female come up with some sort of Mighty Ducksesque plan to get that diamond ring. Most of those plans involve incriminating photos.

But I digress.

It’s a battle royale of the sexes, those being primarily male and female. Who will triumph? What will the outcome be? Will Sable and the Rock make boastful appearances? That all does not matter, because we get the great thrill of seeing a guy get revenge on a cat. I’m a dog guy, myself. I highly mistrust guys who claim they like cats, because 90% of the time they’re just trying to get in good graces with women, and 10% of the time they’re just scary people. If you’ve ever been tormented by a feline who you wished horrible, nasty, Evil Dead chainsaw torture upon, well, I wish you wouldn’t share with the rest of the class. But you might get a kick out of what awaits for the big ball of fluff that torments our hero. It’s good, and it’s what should have been done a long time ago to every cat in the world.

I always have problems writing wrap-up paragraphs for these reviews. I don’t want to end abruptly and leave you cold, but I also hate repeating the “It’s good, rent it, trust me, leave piles of cash on my doorstep.” Why is that?

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