Love and Mary

| September 21, 2008

The recent DVD release of Love and Mary, from director/writer Elizabeth Harrison, is another face in the large and growing crowd of ironic surrealist indie romantic comedies that began in the mainstream with Garden State standing alone in an empty room. Mary, played by Lauren German, owns a struggling bakery that can’t seem to find its niche. Add one part dead fish fiance, two parts past due rent and just a pinch of humor and your left with, well, a lot of questions.
Just when all seems lost for Mary, a message from her grandpa that could save her bakery brings her back home to Texas with the perfect opportunity to introduce her fiance, Jake, played by Gabriel Mann (The Bourne Identity), to her family. Unfortunately for them both, Jake comes down ill and Mary is forced to improvise. Naturally, she quickly bails Jake’s twin brother, Brent, also played by Mann, out of an overnight stay in jail and whisks him on a plane to the Heartland.
Mann makes a valiant effort playing the dual roles, but seems to capture a Brent character that came much easier than a one dimensional Jake that struggles to make an impression on anyone, including Mary. German carries the load of the story playing Mary but unfortunately plays a helpless hero. Family, friends and landlords constantly bail Mary out as she coasts through a soap opera in the most honest of terms.
As Mary passes Brent off for Jake, and sees her family start to adore him, she too becomes smitten. Neither of the two seems to really mind, with really no mention of Jake, and now their job is to get back home with whatever Grandpa has in store for Mary has an engagement gift. The consequences of Brett and Mary’s new romance are nominal and don’t seem to concern anyone.
Despite writing that succeeds at having a unique voice, the story is bogged down with a cast of characters that are weird just to be weird, without a rhyme or reason. Mary being dragged along a thin plot makes Love and Mary struggle to get moving and affects her connection to the audience. You would think that falling in love with your fiance’s twin brother, lying to your parents and owning a bakery that is going out for business would be a recipe for disaster, and it completely was.

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