The Man on Her Mind

The Man on Her Mind

1.5 out of 51.5 out of 51.5 out of 51.5 out of 5 1.5

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Based on a play by Alan Hruska, who co-directed with Bruce Guthrie, The Man on Her Mind suggests an ineffectual mishmash of Ruby Sparks-ish high concept and modern Elizabethan comedy. As two tightly wound singles in Manhattan, Nellie (Amy McAllister) and Leonard (Samuel James) are set up by Janet (Georgia Mackenzie) and Frank (Shane Attwooll), but failure to connect prompts these loners to imagine alternate selves of one another. Projections of the soul, Leonard calls them, and they’re the genesis of an intriguing idea, yielding a metaphysical means of examining their self-absorption. The film, however, forgoes genuine existential musings for quirky plotting, introducing the alternate selves to one another, allowing them to act as matchmakers who help spur the kind of happy ending, so familiar from any number of substandard romantic comedies, that its intriguing premise would seem to reject. Worse, the film fails to transcend its roots in the stage, abandoning the actors in static frames and shuffling them around in ways that aren’t connected to their behavior. Repeatedly overwhelming the frame with embellished facial expressions and inflated line readings, they speak right on top of one another in dialogue echoing the tongue-twisting pace of screwball comedies, but none of their frequently shrewd wit. Each actor is bereft of an individual voice, with all the notions of romantic free will barreling out of them in rigid, complete sentences—like so many vessels of thematic verbiage. The stylistic artificiality effectively mutes exploring the dissonance between the reality and fantasy of relationships, marking the characters as nothing more than mere projections themselves.

98 min
Alan Hruska, Bruce Guthrie
Alan Hruska
Amy McAllister, Samuel James, Georgia Mackenzie, Shane Attwooll