When Will I Be Loved

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/09/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 81 mins

Watchable drama, enlivened by the unusual performances and some impressive editing in the first half.

The Background
Writer-director James Toback is one of those directors who, like Tarantino or Paul Verhoeven, is never likely to be accused of subtlety. His films are usually either unmitigated disasters or, at best, pretentious, rambling, sleazy improv pieces packed with his celebrity best friends. So it comes as something of a relief that When Will I Be Loved is Toback’s best film since his 1978 debut, Fingers.

The Story
When Will I Be Loved stars Frederick Weller as Ford, a hustler trying to pimp his girlfriend (Neve Campbell) to an Italian billionaire played by Uncle Junior from The Sopranos (Dominic Chianese). It starts well. Toback cuts quickly between scenes of Campbell and Weller’s characters in their past and there's a genuine rhythm and energy to the overall plot.

The Good
Campbell is clearly having a great time with such a duplicitous, multi-layered character and as a result, it’s her sexiest performance to date. Weller is equally as good – there’s chemistry between him and Campbell and he makes a believable hustler. Meanwhile, Chianese’s performance is good enough to make you wish he made more movies. There are also cameos from Toback's celebrity friends, such as Mike Tyson, Lori Singer, Damon Dash and, most delightfully, Karen Allen (from Raiders of the Lost Ark).

The Bad
Whether or not you enjoy When Will I Be Loved will very much depend on how much you buy into sudden plot twists. When it turns out that Campbell and Weller are together Toback suddenly has nowhere to cut to, although one long scene in her apartment is surprisingly intense and effective. The film soon becomes a bizarrely hip retread of Indecent Proposal and then it becomes something else entirely.

The Conclusion
In short, When Will I Be Loved is nowhere near as bad as any of Toback's other films might lead you to expect. Yes, it’s sleazy and pretentious and packed with pointless celebrity cameos, but it’s also a lot of fun, not to mention mercifully short at a mere 81 minutes. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 23/01/2020 21:33

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