By Tom Meek | October 5, 1998

Nicholas Barker’s cinematic journal about four desperate singles prowling the personal ads in New York City is at once witty and deviously contrived. The personas, each saddled with their own set of dysfunctional flaws, goals and uproarious quirks, are morbidly engrossing. There’s the voluptuous Italian bombshell with meretricious appeal, looking for a sugar-daddy, the diminutive forty-year-old, suffering from nice guys’ disease, the sweetly rubenesque twenty-eight-year-old deathly afraid of turning thirty without a husband, and the fifty-four-year-old screenwriter (though he’s never sold a script) who describes his apartment as a “sex palace” and insists, time after time, that he has, and never will date a “mutt.” But for four emotionally starved people, Barker’s cast of characters, are alarmingly selective and that’s where the film begins to reveal its grandiloquent chicanery. “Unmade Beds” is seemingly a documentary, but it’s not. It’s not even a mockumentary, it’s a scripted feature that extrapolates from its characters’ real-life personalities. Sure, the film is gorgeously crafted, but for a staged act, one would expect something less banal and more sardonic.

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