Love Etc. began with an, “I do.”
Executive producer Jonathan Tisch and his bride-to-be Lizzie spent a day standing on line at New York’s City Hall Marriage Bureau waiting for a license. Surrounded by couples united under an umbrella of love, Tisch saw, “a microcosm of the city, and New York City was a microcosm of the world.”
It’s also a metropolis that’s become America’s backlot, a Gotham-sized cliche waiting to be over-sentimentalized through banal views of tennis shoes dangling from phone wires, shallow-focus glimpses of couples in silhouette, and slow-motion shots of two intertwined hands gracefully swinging while on a lazy constitutional.
Director Jill Andresevic presents five real-life romantic relationships, in various states of maturation, as they predictably unfold.
Jamaica Hills: Chitra and Mahendra are a young Indian couple, engaged two years and five months away from their planned 4th of July wedding date. They begin all giggly and smoochy-faced before the in-laws set in.
Forest Hills: Divorced, muscle-bound single-father Ethan, 40, is a construction worker whose wife awarded him custody of their two kids. He is currently dating.
Harlem: Scott is a single gay dude unable to find someone willing to start a family. A theatre director, Scott views his future-child’s bedroom-to-be as a set, and his or her adoption a major production.
SoHo: It’s the first serious relationship for Gabriel and Danielle, both 18. We pick up their story on Valentine’s Day.
Canarsie: If their success in love could translate to record sales, Albert, 79, and Marion, 89, would be America’s most prolific song-writing team. Al spends the day unsuccessfully working the phone trying to promote the couple’s latest jingle, Every Day’s a Holiday in Brooklyn. It helps to take his mind off Marion’s dementia.
The results of each story are as predictable as their presentation. Love Etc. is a reality TV series waiting to happen.
Love Etc. is currently playing at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15.
Rating: Zero stars.