By Merle Bertrand | October 26, 2000

There are precisely five reasons to watch Kwyn Bader’s amusing, but not particularly innovative romantic comedy “Loving Jezebel”: 1) Lead actor Hill Harper, who plays the doomed-to-love-women-attached-to-other-men Theodorus Melville with the same fresh-faced earnestness that his character brings to his ill-fated romantic pursuits, and 2-5) the four stunningly attractive women who’ve made such a shambles of Melville’s dating history. A gawky, geeky adolescent, Melville matures into the kind of nice guy women seem to fawn over…while simultaneously driving him crazy with their irrational foibles and psychoses. Melville, who may as well have his heart extracted and surgically attached to a sleeve, loves all of these women completely, however, sticking with each of the doomed relationships all the way to the bottom of the ocean like a devoted captain going down with his ship. It’s not until he meets Samantha (Laurel Holloman), however, a beautiful woman trapped in a destructive marriage to a white trash Neanderthal, that he finds a true soul-mate; someone who, unlike the other beauties in his life, will return the love he so unabashedly dishes out. “Loving Jezebel” is a lighthearted and frothy romantic comedy; a fun and amusing diversion, but little more. There have been, and will be, plenty of other movies like it. With the exception of a nifty surreal fantasy sequence near the end of the film, there’s not much here to distinguish this film from its forerunners and descendants. Fortunately, this isn’t necessarily a film that flies or falls on its plot, which makes Harper’s charismatic and engaging performance all the more crucial to the film’s ultimate success.

This film played at the SXSW Film Festival.

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