by Jason Anderson, published on November 13, 2003 10:11|
An overachieving Halifax university student refuses to put up with other people's mediocrity in this terrific romantic comedy by Parsley Days director Andrea Dorfman. Played by Toronto actor Nadia Litz with a fervid air of determination, Phoebe comes from a long line of accomplished women and will not let anything stand between her and her goals. Phoebe keeps a list of those goals on her fridge: entries include "forage for edible wilds," "black belt" and "understand jazz." "You can do better than that," she says again and again to her browbeaten best friend, Robin (Nikki Barnett): doing better is what Phoebe is all about.
Robin finally cracks under the pressure and accuses her of lacking any regard for humanity beyond herself. Phoebe is stunned -- "I love humanity," she says. "I volunteer." Robin's sudden departure means Phoebe is on her own as she faces her toughest challenge before graduation: "get boyfriend." Her project goes further awry when she falls for the least appropriate boy around: Frazer (Adrien Dixon), the lanky, sheepish 14-year-old who cuts her lawn. Love That Boy ain't exactly Lolita, but the age difference still creates a range of complications for Litz's superior-minded heroine.
Daffy and big-hearted, Love That Boy succeeds handily at its own, more modest ambitions. Though the slight storyline is nearly stretched to the breaking point by the time of the final scenes, the writing is too tart for the proceedings to ever descend into whimsy and the characters are presented with great care by the cast, especially the gamine-like Litz. The way that Dorfman's movie captures the tentativeness, lightness and strange luminescence of young love (and in Phoebe's case, very young love) recalls Bill Forsythe's wondrous Gregory's Girl. I can think of no higher compliment.
Editorial Rating: 4 out of 5