The best I can gather from watching Love For Rent is that there’s only one recognizable face to speak of. The problem is that the face in question is Saturday Night Live cast member Nora Dunn, who was only moderately funny on the show, but sank her career when she boycotted the appearance of Andrew Dice Clay in the early 1990s. Now that the times have changed, have the sensibilities moved closer to Dunn’s?
Well to quote Whitney Houston, “hell to the no”. Dunn plays Helen, wi…e of Frank (Jim Piddock, A Mighty Wind), a wealthy couple who have been trying for awhile to conceive a child. They encounter Sofia (Angie Cepeda, Love in the Time of Cholera), a young woman who is in an auto accident with her friend George (Richard Speight, Thank You For Smoking). Sofia is married to a fairly unseemly guy named Jesse (Brad Rowe, Full Frontal), who marries women so they can secure their green cards. Jesse has cancelled her insurance and evicted her from her apartment. The Baumans offer Sofia a large sum of money in order to carry their baby.
I know, hackneyed premise, right? Wait, it gets more so. Sofia becomes slightly smitten by the doctor who treated her during the accident, a guy named Neil (Ken Marino, Gattaca). Neil doesn’t know that Sofia is/was married, or that she’s with child for the Baumans, never mind the fact that he’s a doctor. Must be a pretty crappy one. So while Sofia and Neil start to kind of get serious, the Baumans are trying to help Sofia with her pregnancy for them.
Directed by Shane Edelman, who was largely a speaking role extra in films like Shopgirl and Catch Me if You Can, the film moves along OK, but the problem that I had with it was that it was like every other movie I’ve seen with a woman who acts as a surrogate parent. No wait, it wasn’t. I was surprised that she frantically didn’t grab the kid in the neonatal unit of the hospital and run away with it. Or maybe that’s saved for the sequel.
Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo for the ears to soak in. Everything is up front either in the front or center channels, resulting in nonexistent surround use, but nothing that should be all that surprising.
The film is presented in 16:9 attention. The flesh tones are reproduced naturally and the colors don’t seem to bleed in any way, and there’s no real edge enhancement to speak of.
Love for Rent features characters that aren’t too charismatic, with a story that isn’t too compelling, in a film that isn’t too interesting. I’d blindly stereotype this as a chick flick, but that insults the ones made by people who actually try to do them right. Skip it if you can.