Pete (Matt Glasson) is a pick-up artist, and a successful one at that. Not to say his life is glamorous; he subscribes to the numbers theory (the more you swing, the better your odds of getting a hit) and hits on almost anything that moves. Night after night he’s out at the bars, dropping the same lines on different women. And save for the occasional negative byproduct of his conquests (such as being called out for his player ways by a former one-night stand), his life, as hollow as it seems, is also comfortable. That is, of course, until he meets Stephanie (Rachel Chapman) at a bar and finds himself drawn to her in more than a “f**k ’em and leave ’em” way.
Though the description above could be a perfect set-up for a mainstream flick, this isn’t a romantic comedy (the tagline for the film appropriately uses “an unromantic comedy”), so don’t expect things to roll as they might in said genre. Love Stalker is a funny film, but it also has a certain darkness to it. Most times unsympathetic Pete’s plight is one that he’s finally lowering his guard, and he may not have chosen the correct person to do that with; that, or he may not be ready, underneath it all, for as adult a relationship as he seems to think.
Love Stalker also briefly touches on an interesting angle of the web as public shaming device; the pillory of our times. Stephanie is a relationship guru, one who blogs about her adventures and misadventures in love, and eventually Pete finds himself the very public, though anonymous, subject of her writings. And what he, and everyone else, reads is not necessarily the most flattering of accounts. For a moment, you actually feel bad for him; in years before the internet, he may’ve had a poor reputation based amongst his community via word-of-mouth, but nowadays all it takes is a couple of blog posts and he’s marked the world over. It’s like using an atom bomb to kill a fly; a swat would’ve sufficed.
And kudos to the filmmakers for not shying away from the nudity when making a film about a pick-up artist who has as much meaningless sex as he can muster. The sex isn’t shot cutesy; it’s raw and real. Not to say this is amateur porn or anything like that, but real sex very seldom resembles its cinematic counterpart, and Love Stalker seems to try to get as close to the uncomfortable reality as it can in its brief sexual moments.
Overall, Love Stalker is a fine film. It’s not perfect; the tonal shifts don’t always work and there seems to a weird flow to editing where sometimes you feel like it’s all moving too slow, then too fast (it’s hard to explain; I found myself, 45 minutes in, wishing the film and the plot was moving faster but, with 10 minutes left, wanted there to be more to the film than there was). That said, however, the film doesn’t falter too much and, even when it gets predictable, manages to at least do things up a little bit different.
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