LOST & FOUND
Directed by Jeff Pollack (Booty Call) and written by newcomers
James B. Cook and Marc Meeks, this film follows a tried and true formula,
and the plot does share some similarities with the aforementioned Mary.
Dylan, the funny/nice guy (Spade), who is part-owner of a fledgling L.A.
restaurant, falls in love with his drop dead gorgeous next-door neighbor,
French cellist Lila Dubois (Marceau), who at first glance seems to be completely
out of his league. He must compete for her affections with a handsome, rich
(and superficial and nasty) former lover, Rene (Patrick Bruel). Dylan tries
to impress her with good deeds and sincerity, but he makes a mistake that
causes her grief and Rene exploits the situation.
Central to the story is Lila's Benji-esque dog Jack, a habitual wanderer.
In order to get a little quality time with Lila, Dylan kidnaps the pooch
and holds him in his apartment while he and Lila search the neighborhood.
The plan is to get her alone for a while, sell himself to her with charming
repartee, and then "find" the animal, further winning her over.
But while they're out walking, Jack eats (or hides, or does something with)
the wedding ring entrusted to Dylan by his restaurant partner Mark (Mitchell
Whitfield). Until he can determine the whereabouts of the ring, Dylan can't
let the dog out of his sight. He enlists the help of one of his emloyees,
Wally (Artie Lange, MadTV), but Wally's attempts to help usually
just exacerbate the situation.
Meanwhile a few subplots are thrown in: Lila wants to be a professional
cellist; she has the talent but not the nerve or connections. Dylan and
Mark are trying to get a loan to keep their restaurant afloat; Mark's cooking
is excellent but they have no established credit. Bank president Mr. Millstone
(Martin Sheen in a very brief performance) tells Dylan he must show he has
integrity before he'll give him the money, so in the final reel he's working
on two fronts, trying to prove himself both to Lila and to Mr. Millstone.
This movie is the very definition of fluff. It's funny at times, especially when Spade is doing his comedic thing, but overlong for its style. During the plot machinations, when Spade is not on screen, one's mind tends to wander toward more interesting things, like groceries, laundry, and how to deal with that nasty fungal infection. Spade seems uncomfortable in the especially poignant scenes; when he was kissing Lila he looked painfully self-conscious, like a school kid kissing for the first time, about to giggle and spoil the mood. But for a no-risk effort designed to allow him to get his romantic feet wet, Lost & Found adequately fills the bill. ***½
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