Love Stalker (2011)

Description (from the DVD insert):
“Love Stalker” is the story of a 30-something bar-hopping player named Pete (writer/director Glasson) who lives to “play the game” and bed as many women as possible to reach his “golden number.”  Things change for him once he meets Stephanie (Rachel Chapman), a web-savvy relationship blogger, and the two begin to get romantic.  However, when she discovers the extent of his player ways, she ends the relationship, driving Pete to stalker-like lengths in his rom-com inspired efforts to win her back.  “Love Stalker” is a stylish indie comedy in the vein of “Swingers” crossed with the brooding intensity of “Taxi Driver.”  It is an unromantic comedy that gives an honest and unabashed account of today’s singles dating scene and the dual nature of love and obsession.

Major Cast:
Matt Glasson as Pete, Darek Russell as Tony, Rachel Chapman as Stephanie, Laura Baron as Sharon

Special Features:
Trailer

Written and Directed by Matt Glasson and B. Bowls MacLean

There is no doubt about it: I would hate Pete in real life.  This is one arrogant, annoying, douche of a man, and I kinda want to punch him in the junk.  I’m sure this is what the filmmakers were going for (why else would he have leopard print sheets… and banana hammocks… and shower curtains… and…), and they succeeded.  I actually said to my wife after the introductory scene of LOVE STALKER, “that guy is a total douche, I hope he’s not the main character ‘cause I can’t stand him.”  He is.  It’s important for the story though that Pete be such a total jerk.  Otherwise the fruition of the tale would not mean as much as it does.

Nothing says “I’m a Douche” like leopard print sheets and matching banana hammock…

LS is the story of Pete, a bar hopping and woman conquest-ing asshole, and how his life is changed when he finally finds a woman “worth waiting for.”  Pete and his buddy Tony spend basically all of their non-work time at one bar or another, Tony hanging out and drinking, Pete drinking and looking to screw.  Pete explains to his friend that he is close to his “golden number” – he was born in 1975, so his 75th woman bedded will mean the skies will open and dispense him with celestial knowledge, or some such nonsense – and this has become a bit of an obsession.  Also, there is a feeling that #75 will be different somehow.  Enter Stephanie: a cute chick that uses Pete for her own reasons at a bar (getting rid of a guy that won’t take the “I’m not interested” hint) then leaves him behind.

…except for the “Point’n’Click”

The plot progresses, and eventually Pete and Stephanie get together (she’s #75!) and something in Pete changes.  He doesn’t just want to bang her and write down the details in his little notebook, he actually finds that he can care for someone.  Of course, the plot doesn’t really move along in Pete’s favor (douches rarely win), and then he gets to be a bit, well, stalkerish.
LS bills its self as an “unromantic comedy,” and I guess that’s a pretty good way to explain it.  It has a lot of the rom-com elements, but it is not a rom-com for a few good reasons (I won’t spoil them).  It also says that it “is a stylish indie comedy in the vein of SWINGERS crossed with the brooding intensity of TAXI DRIVER;” that statement I have a bit more issue with.  I can see the SWINGERS thing – there’s not a whole lot of action that occurs in this movie, it’s a lot of talking at bars for the most part – but LS is certainly no TAXI DRIVER.  Yes, Pete gets a bit obsessive, and yes, he gets a bit weird, but Pete is no Travis Bickle.  Truthfully though, if Pete had completely flipped and the movie ended with Stephanie getting her fingers blown off, I might have been more impressed!

The directors of LS are more than competent in crafting a fun film.  They were able to pull decent performances from their main actors – Pete, Tony, and Stephanie are all pretty believable (though Stephanie’s vocal delivery can get a bit annoying… you’ll have to watch it to see what I mean) – and the supporting cast was pretty strong as well.  I enjoyed the pacing detectives, and there were little bits here and there from the other supporting performances that brought a smile to my face.  The directors also have crafted a good script as a whole, though I did have a few issues with it.  The story takes a really long time to get to Stephanie, and then once the “relationship” ends, there is not too much time for Pete to brood.  I think that LS would have benefited from getting to the relationship earlier, then building the post-relationship crazy for more of the film.  The slap in the face (metaphorically) that Pete gets at the end would have been more effective this way, and instead of a slap would have felt more like a superman punch to the jaw.

Even in wine glasses, crappy beer is still crappy beer.

On the production side of things, LS is a cut above most micro budgeted cinema I watch.  The camera is crisp, and overall the images are well shot, well focused, and decent to look at.  The camera work is solid, but it’s nothing new; there’s nothing special going on with the composition of LS, but it does a good job at presenting the story.  Truthfully, with this kind of talkie indie flick, I wouldn’t expect a whole mess of camera tricks or flashy shots, but LS would have benefited from spicing up the camera work just a little.  The audio is good overall; while some areas the audio could have been a bit crisper or louder, there is never enough of an issue with it to make it become hard to hear or distracting from the film.  The lighting is, again, mostly good: there are a few moments here and there where the shadows become a bit harsher or the darks too dark, but overall it is a more than passable job.  As a whole, the production of LS is good, very good, just not quite great.  I was impressed with the number of bars they were able to access as shooting locations; it was nice that the “bars” were really bars and not someone’s basement with a disco ball.

I’m in your closet, looking out…

Overall, LS was a good film.  I don’t want it to seem like it’s not.  It is a good story, well made, with good-looking people putting in above-average acting performances.  For some reason it just felt like it could have been so much better.  It left me wanting for something more.  LS was a good film… that could have been a great film.  I look forward to seeing what these filmmakers do in the future; LS was not the great film it could have been, but maybe the next one will be.

Overall 6.5 / 10

LS on the IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1754156/

LS for sale: http://www.lovestalker.com/shop.html

LS site: http://www.lovestalker.com/

Love Stalker (2011)

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