I Love You Too is a story about the meaning of relationships, the importance of male friendship and having the courage to pursue the one you love.

He loves me not.

Peter Dinklage is probably best remembered as the small person from US indie The Station Agent (2003). He’s a really attractive screen character; he’s got movie star good looks, a deep and calming voice and enough dignity to make Tom Hanks envious. And yet I simply cannot figure out what he’s doing in this movie. If it’s a gag (as in, 'what’s the most unlikely romantic lead you can think of?’) it’s bizarre and a little askew. When the Farrelly brothers push a politically incorrect button (folks with physical challenges) it usually has something to do with shattering misconceptions about cosmetic beauty. But Dinklage’s character here is kind of the hero of the story and his physical proportions don’t seem to have anything to do with the plot at all.

I Love You Too is a rom-com written by local TV comic Peter Helliar. In it Dinklage plays Charlie, a sort of romantic savant. In the film’s messy plot Charlie befriends Jim (Brendan Cowell), a thirty-something bloke who after finding it hard to commit to a relationship, gets dumped by his charming and beautiful long-term girlfriend, Alice (Yvonne Strahovski).

Meanwhile Charlie has romantic dreams of his own; a widower, still mourning the untimely death of his young wife from cancer a few years earlier, he is infatuated with Italian supermodel Francesca (Megan Gale). He’s written a love letter to her, but is too timid to deliver it. Because this is a comedy about how useless blokes are in dealing with their romantic longings, Charlie and Jim make a pact; Jim will deliver the letter, if Charlie helps him win back Alice.

As a plot, I suppose, this is no better or worse than your average garden-variety rom-com. Trouble is, the synopsis as I’ve outlined it, skips over a whole lot of incongruities, and inconsistencies. Or, to put it another way, there’s not much here that makes a lot of sense. It’s the kind of picture where stuff happens, not out of some internal logic due to the rules of cause and effect, but because it has to, or else the movie would just drop dead.

Take for instance, the issue of character motivation. For the narrative to progress and develop Charlie and Jim have to make the aforementioned pact; Helliar and director Daina Reid (a TV veteran of series like Very Small Business) contrive to make them mates; unfortunately this friendship only seems to exist so the plot can move forward. The motivations are fudged; why does Charlie, a wealthy and successful photographer, take pity on Jim, after Jim has attempted to steal his car?

Obviously Helliar and co. wanted to make a modern day cupid story"¦ a kind of fairy tale (was that the motivation for casting a small person in one of the leads, as in Snow White, huh?) Even fairy tales have a story logic that’s tough and rigorous. This film just feels lazy. Still, there are some nice ideas in it; a lot of the movie deals with friendship and loyalty. Helliar plays Jim’s dim witted best mate Blake. His efforts to comfort Jim are set up as pathetic against Charlie’s romantic ideals. But the gags are crass and obvious. Charlie advises Jim to get in touch with his feelings; Blake books Jim a prostitute to provide him with comfort sex.

Most of the humour has that forced quality of TV sitcoms and sketch comedy; the fine cast of likeable actors spend a lot of their time double-taking and double-taking, again. But perhaps the worst thing is that for a film that plays around with bad taste, it’s all so terribly polite.


1 hour 47 min
In Cinemas 06 May 2010,
Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11