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by brianorndorf

"That's right, I'll say it: Amanda Bynes deserves better"
2 stars

The 2006 comedy “She’s the Man” proved to me that tween queen Amanda Bynes has got “it,” however minor this quality might be. Even if “Man” wasn’t a sophisticated, innovative picture, the screwball feature certainly had moxie and an eagerness to reach above its sitcom roots to locate laughs. The film also solidified Bynes as a comedienne in training; a sprightly young talent with a gift for madcap comedy and college-level hijinks. “Lovewrecked” is all the more reason to push Bynes further toward adult fare.

If there’s one person in the world Jenny (Amanda Bynes) loves most, it’s Jason Masters (Chris Carmack, “The O.C.”), a pop singer at the top of his fame. When Jenny and her friend Ryan (Jonathan Bennett, “Mean Girls”) take a summer job at a Caribbean beach resort, it’s to Jenny’s great surprise to find Jason staying at the same location. Through a series of unfortunate events, Jason and Jenny end up shipwrecked on a deserted island together. This ends up in Jenny’s favor when she discovers the island is still connected to the resort, offering her a chance to steer Jason’s love toward her in their isolation.

While shooting directly to DVD after three years in stasis (with a short detour to the ABC Family cable network last month), let’s hope that “Lovewrecked” is the final nail in Bynes’s tween-pleasing coffin. The picture is harmless piffle, and the target demo of slumber parties should be pleased with this routine foray into sexless romantic comedy. However, the film comes as an unexpectedly significant disappointment to those hoping “Man” was a breakthrough feature for Bynes.

Well, if you have to do a tropical location with love in the air, it’s a good idea to hire Randal Kleiser to direct the film. Truth is, his instincts toward teenage delights have been ground into dust in the 27 years following the release of “The Blue Lagoon.” Nothing in the world demonstrates a filmmaker completely drained of his game quite like watching “Lovewrecked” stumble through some indigestible slabs of slapstick, romantic twaddle, and editorial nonsense. Yes, my friends, there’s actually a “star wipe” transition used in the film. Somewhere Homer Simpson is smiling.

Kleiser has no focal point for the comedy, instead arranging minor sequences that allow for Bynes to do her expected mugging and the rest of the film to lay there like a dead fish. The desperation is so evident that at one point the script calls for Jenny to use a fart machine to usurp the advances of a romantic rival (played by Jamie-Lynn DiScala) for Jason’s affection – a twist in the script I’m too tired to even address.

Throughout the film, it’s comforting to see Bynes work her behind off to make “Lovewrecked” come together. It’s hardly her fault the picture fails to be funny; Bynes puts in an A effort, yet only receives C results. She’s the reason the film gets the small handful of chuckles it can muster, and she’s the feeble spark of electricity in the romantic comedy department, playing off two vacant pretty boys in Bennett and Carmack. Bynes has got goofball down, but she needs better material than what “Lovewrecked” has to offer her and hungers for a director who can dial her energy up and down when the movie requires it.

A dizzying amount of confusion is found with the film’s rating. Branded PG for the faintest of offenses, the producers have done an embarrassing job covering up the fact that “Lovewrecked” had a little more edge to it at one point. Once a slightly more heady PG-13 endeavor, all traces of smutty dialogue have been painted over, but in noticeable ways that flagrantly do not match the actual dialog being spoken by the characters. It’s hardly naughty material too, just a slightly more sexual vibe to the film that seems organic to the rest of the picture. It’s a detoxification that this frayed feature didn’t need to suffer through.

“Lovewrecked” seems like such innocent fun until it starts to grind on your nerves as the tale drains of excitement and Bynes’s batteries begin to wear down. It’s not a catastrophic romp, but one can easily see why the Weinstein Company held it from theatrical exhibition for two years, waiting for that right moment to slip this forgettable title in under the radar.

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originally posted: 03/16/07 17:19:12
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User Comments

5/08/10 Corky Lightweight teen fluff, harmless fun with occasional wit... 3 stars
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  21-Jan-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Mar-2007



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