On the Line

on October 26, 2001 by Tim Cogshell
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   Fans of the pop singing boy band 'N Sync, most of whom are teenaged and younger, and easily excitable, will enjoy the film debut of two of its pop icon members. At an advance screening of "On the Line," attended for the most part by the target audience, the approval level was palpable. The kids screamed nearly every time Lance Bass or Joey Fatone appeared on screen. That doesn't make this a good movie, which it isn't, but does suggest a resonance with the audience for whom it's intended.

   Kevin (Bass) is a good guy who never takes a chance on the things he really wants. This theme is repeated throughout the movie, lest the filmmakers run the risk of the audience not getting it. Specifically, Kevin meets the girl of his dreams on the L-train in Chicago. They both love the Cubs, Al Green and can name the U.S. presidents in order from Washington through Bush-Clinton-Bush--but once again, Kevin chickens out. He doesn't get her name or number. At the urging of his boisterous buddies, led by Rod (Fatone), Kevin decides to put himself On the Line and find the girl he met On the Line. He posts hand-bills all over the city, and the Daily Post covers his quest as a human interest story. The rest of the film is one of those they-keep-just-missing-each-other comedies, as Abbey (Emmanuelle Chriqui) seems to be the only person in the city unaware that her true love is looking for her. Meanwhile, Kevin's newfound confidence helps him get ahead in his fledgling ad executive career.

   There are plenty of juvenile moments here (bodily humor jokes still prevail with the pre-teen crowd), and some very sweet stuff from Bass, who cannot act but doesn't embarrass himself. And yes, he sings--and takes off his shirt.

   Actor Dave Foley, formerly of the comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, provides solid comic relief, and R&B Singer Al Green makes a notable appearance. This movie will likely drive anyone under the age of 14 out of their minds with bliss, and those over 14 just plain out of their minds. Starring James Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Gregory Qaiyum, James Bulliard, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Dave Foley and Al Green. Directed by Eric Bross. Written by Eric Aronson & Paul Stanton. Produced by Peter Abrams and Robert Levy. A Miramax release. Comedy/Romance. Rated PG for language and some crude humor. Running time: 90 min

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