It’s a hot and steamy summer in 1967. It’s especially miserable when you’re a broke and struggling trumpet player in a municipal orchestra like Burt (David Ian), whose meager salary goes towards his ex-wife Helen’s (Mary Frank Madera) alimony rather than to pay his electric bill. Relief seems to breeze in for this likable lug in the wispy form of Linda (Traci Crouch), a pretty blond flutist who joins the orchestra after her predecessor’s death. Linda’s the type of airhead who divides the entire human race into two categories: the “ketchup, vanilla, dog” group and the “mustard, chocolate, cat” crowd; a cutesy and irritating over generalization that pretty much sums up both Linda’s intellectual depth and that of this highly grating film.
The main problem with this would-be psychedelic romantic comedy from director Pamela Corkey is the crippling lack of chemistry between its two leads. Unlikely at the outset given Burt and Linda’s polar opposite physical attributes — a beach blond beauty and an overweight, white briefs-wearing bear of a man who triggered rather unfortunate flashbacks of my Dad wearing the same all-too-minimal get-up — “Easy Listening” is further hampered by its ponderous pacing and unimaginative cinematography. (Memo to Ms. Corkey: There’s no sin in shooting an occasional close-up.)
Try as it might, “Easy Listening” strikes all the wrong notes. As irritating as a radio station that’s not quite tuned all the way to its station, “Easy Listening” is about as listless and joyless a romantic comedy as they come.