After the haunting and affecting “The Sent Down Girl,” I was curious what actress-turned-director Joan Chen would do in her second directorial effort. Sadly enough she choose this paltry “Love Story” knock-off.
Here the ageless Richard Gere plays Will Keane, a swinging bachelor and celebrity restaurateur and big brown eyes Winona Ryder plays Charlotte, the sweet 22-year-old dumpling who catches his 48-year-old eye. He’s old enough to be her father but that doesn’t stop him from putting on his old dog moves. After some sweet “Pretty Woman” romancing it comes out that she’s got a bad ticker and not long to live; and that he used to date her now deceased mother and has an illegitimate daughter lurking in the shadows. But their problems really take off when he’s caught on the tail end of an indiscretion – right in the middle of a party and as she’s reading children to sleep. Can they find love before she parts? Can he redeem himself?
Gere and Ryder look great, but the silly plot allows for zero chemistry and Gere’s saddled with a despicable womanizer who spends the whole film making excuses and trying to find his heart, but it’s the film itself that’s a heartless, sad excuse.