Written and Directed by Alek Keshishian (2006)
Starring: Brittany Murphy, Matthew Rhys, Catherine Tate, Santiago Cabrera
Love and Other Disasters is a completely unoffensive romantic comedy set in London and referencing the career of Audrey Hepburn. Roommates Jacks (Murphy) and Peter (Rhys) try to figure out their romantic relationships which are constantly compared to their own, platonic situation as best friends. Both of them are working at major UK magazines, both of them enjoy brunch, both of them are consistently unsatisfied with their love lives. While Peter can’t find a man who matches the fantasy in his head, Jacks won’t break up with her convenient boyfriend James (Elliot Cowan) even though she knows she’s not in love with him.
The film is structured very similarly to Audrey Hepburn, William Holden comedy Paris When it Sizzles (1964), with a screenplay’s directions introducing the characters based on a screenplay Peter is working on. Jacks is explicitly styled to resemble Holly Golightly, especially contrasting the movie with the novella’s handling of Paul’s sexuality. While underscoring her own relationship with Peter, it also plays out in the meet-cute, romantic plot between Jacks and Paolo, the new photographer’s assistant.
Love and Other Disasters is stylish and cute, perfect for Sundays with nothing to do atmosphere. Murphy’s casting is a little over the top with a repeated American-English accent noted in the screenplay, but a wardrobe chic enough to make up for her slightly too-shiny characterization. Catherine Tate is, as always, fun to watch and her anecdotes about failed relationships with a Jamaican and phone-sex operator punctuate the neuroses of the others. On the whole, the young upper-crust of London seem fun, more than a little shallow, and very worthy of a Hepburn-esque rom com.
I prefer the gay storyline, although it is comparatively straight (haha) forward to the mistaken sexual identity-immigration-flightly girl straight line. There’s a final scene that is the perfect argument for the best and worst situations with epilogues, but I think it’s a great cap to such an escapist movie.