Andrew (Andrew von Urtz) is the kind of guy who tries to pick up women at bars by telling them he’s written a script and thinks they would be perfect for a role, and whose excuse for bailing out on a date is: “You’re not gonna believe this, I sprained my ankle.” Loveless follows this middle-aged bachelor with a dead-end job and a filmmaking dream as he reconnects with old flames and gets clumsily involved with new ones, including Ava (Genevieve Hudson-Price), an attractive young woman in a bizarre kinship cult that has some of her non-biological “family” stalk Andrew inexplicably.
Loveless feels very much like a botched Arnaud Desplechin film that could only have worked had it starred Mathieu Amalric and if its dialogue were less mumblecore pseudo-realism, more Pascal over wine at My Night at Maud’s. The figure of the neurotic and awkward unsuccessful man whose charm lies in his own gaucheness finds its allure when backed by the kind of cinematographic elegance and philosophical insight that is lacking here. While there seems to be a nod to the French cinematic tradition of seductive, suit-wearing womanizers, the narrative writer-director Ramin Serry has come up with feels mostly inconsequential. If there is one thing that European cinema has repeatedly shown us is that there’s enough drama in the everyday. Loveless adds unnecessary detail to a mis-en-scène already filled with enough randomness and complexity. Ava is part of a cult-like system of kinship: her “brothers” keep showing up wherever Andrew is to put him in embarrassing situations, and they later want to finance Andrew’s film script, but only if he makes another film that the brothers wrote first; then Andrew’s girlfriend gets upset because he now has to cast Ava in the films. (It was all so much nicer and captivating when Andrew and his friends were sipping wine by the pool.)
With its twitchy camerawork and offbeat main character, the film can resemble both The Office and Woody Allen’s best work at times. But its aesthetic and narrative references feel gratuitous and flat, as Loveless can never match the sensibility of its cinematic muses. It even wastes taking a meta reference to Godard’s Contempt further when Ava is sitting in bed asking the guy in the room if she is a good-enough-this, a good-enough-that, like the canonical Brigitte Bardot scene in which she fishes for compliments on her every womanly body part.