“On_Line” takes the conventional New Yawk romantic comedy and blasts it through cyberspace. Jed Weintrob’s DV feature is sweet-natured at its core but also frothingly sexual, slathered with filthy talk and porny visuals. If the idea of a splitscreened multi-orgasm blows your skirt up, then this is the movie for you.
Entangled in this intricate sex Web are John (Josh Hamilton) and
Moe (Herold Perrineau), proprietors of a live erotic site called Intercon-X. While John pines away for his ex-fiancee, Moe hooks up with an unstable art chick, Moira (Isabel Gillies). Fantasy cyberbabe Jordan (Vanessa Ferlito) is soon drawn into the fun, creating a love quadrangle; meanwhile, man-on-man (or boy) action is provided by gay chat host Al (John Fleck) and his college-age crush Ed (Eric Millegan).
Somehow the actors all maintain straight faces as they endlessly ram their hands down their pants, though some of the performances do verge on the sitcommy. Of course, most of the characters’ encounters occur online – face-to-face meetings in the real world tend toward the miserably awkward. The raw sexuality sometimes clangs loudly against the glib comedy, but by the end “On_Line” makes you love it. And the smeary, bleary DV colors – images split up and recombined by the pixel-frenzy collage of the editing – are surprisingly watchable in the context of this oh-so-current affair.
Additional goodwill is generated by the fact that, though the film is set very much present-day (Hamilton specifies “January 30th, 2002” in his introduction), there are many glorious images of the World Trade Center proudly displayed throughout. It’s a nice touch.