Moviegoers beware: nausea is a prime side effect of consuming Feast of Love, an extraordinarily inane multi-character saga about the complexities of love from Robert Benton. Competent staging and serviceable performances are about the only compliments I can think to pay the film, which charts the romances of some Portland, Oregon simpletons with such laughable pretentiousness that, were it not for everyone involved playing the material for straightforward uplift, it would feel like a parody of Grand Canyon, Playing by Heart, and its faux-profound ilk. Grieving college professor Harry (Morgan Freeman, once again the dispenser of wise advice) sits around watching young ‘uns fall in and out of love, from coffee shop owner Bradley’s (Greg Kinnear) wife (Selma Blair) swooning over a lesbian softball adversary, to Bradley’s employee Oscar (Toby Hemingway) fancying pretty Chloe (Alexa Davalos), to Bradley rediscovering affection with real-estate agent Diana (Radha Mitchell), who’s secretly sleeping with a married man (Billy Burke). Potential soul mates land in people’s laps with convenient regularity, but the real hilarity is in the details. Oscar discusses a latent sexist fantasy about one day coming home to find Chloe waiting for him in their mansion’s foyer (set to quiet chants of “Hallelujah!”). In thinking about how to achieve this domestic bliss, Chloe asks Harry if making amateur porn videos is a wise way to earn some extra cash—and then inquires about the possibility of Harry unofficially adopting both she and Oscar. Meanwhile, a dime store psychic is treated by Chloe (and the film) as a legitimate source of prophesy, though Bradley unfortunately isn’t clued into this fact until after he marries Diana and, during a post-ceremony brush-off, learns that she’s an ice queen who thinks love is just nature’s tricky way of encouraging procreation. Benton gracelessly borrows a song from Once and indulges in excessive female nudity even as he keeps male members discreetly out of sight. Yet responsibility for Feast of Love‘s gaseousness is largely due to Allison Burnett’s endlessly contrived script (based on Charles Baxter’s book), which has the gall to earnestly preach about the bravery of the human heart while resorting to ridiculously cheesy melodrama like a knife attack by Oscar’s misogynistic, alcoholic dad (Fred Ward)…on Chloe’s bag of groceries.
- 102 min
- Robert Benton
- Allison Burnett
- Morgan Freeman, Selma Blair, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell, Alexa Davalos, Toby Hemingway, Billy Burke, Fred Ward, Jane Alexander
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