Directed by Adam Rapp and written by lead actors Michael Godere and Ivan Martin, two actors flee to the county to write a script that they’ve led a big time producer to believe was already finished, they’ve got ten days to write it if they want their big break. Also starring: Marisa Tomei, Sam Rockwell, Brian Geraghty, Natasha Lyonne, Britne Oldford and Isabelle McNally.
Another example of titles changed for the worse in transition from US to UK, originally titled Loitering with Intent, which even before you see the film you can agree is a big improvement and then when you have, you’ll recognise that the UK title makes no sense. At its core, you have a story about two self-obsessed, unoriginal, pretentious actors trying to make a film so that they can put themselves in it, and ironically that feels like exactly what the writers did here. Whether or not that irony is intentional is highly debatable as it would be fairly self-deprecating and it’s unlikely that they’d take that big of a jab at themselves. Dominic (Godere) and Raphael (Martin) aren’t exactly the most sympathetic of characters, they’re stereotypical and pretending to be creative when all they really want to do is live in the past, obsessed with the golden age of cinema. Classically fawning over the early to mid 1900’s is a common sign of pretention and here it’s no exception, they’re the equivalent of film twitter forever arguing that a director’s best film is his least accessible or first made.
One major problem is that because the writers are so focused on creating decent roles for themselves, they’ve forgotten to write solid parts for the more talented actors in the film, Rockwell and Tomei. Tomei’s Gigi is flighty, messy and clingy, Rockwell’s Wayne is aggressive, blunt and territorial, there’s nothing particularly interesting about either of their characters which is sad because they give great performances despite the little they have to work with, both of them typically add so much energy. That energy could have been well used, as the leads Godere and Martin provide bland characters, they’re too obvious and have no individual qualities that haven’t been seen before. Godere’s Dominic is the uptight, dedicated to his craft type while Martin’s Raphael is the modern hippy believing you have to let the ideas flow through you, neither ever making genuine human connections because they were too focused on themselves. McNally’s Ava adds a touch of personality and has an interesting edge but it clashes against their clear intention for her to just be the young woman that they all want to sleep with, after they make sure she’s of legal age.
Unsurprisingly, as most of these types of characters do, they come from money so when they go out to their country home, it’s large and typically picturesque with flowers growing everywhere, and a nearby lake. However, there isn’t enough use of the location, it gave the opportunity for the director and cinematographer to give the visual some depth with beautiful landscape shots but that doesn’t happen because its focused so far inwards, it isn’t possible. The writing is shallow, it’s a meandering plot with nothing to say, it’s messy and a little bit childish. The initial idea of trying to write a script in ten days actually had the potential for tension, a sincere goal, and to be hugely creative but after a few scenes, the idea is basically thrown away for a semblance of emotional issues. It quite typically follows the qualities of its lead characters, that just don’t have anything original or interesting to add. You genuinely would have thought that they would have wanted to give themselves deep, layered and fascinating characters to portray but as the saying goes, you write what you know.
Flirting with Love is unfortunately a waste of Tomei and Rockwell’s talent, a film about their tumultuous relationship and to explore their characters would have been more interesting and reflective of its title. Godere and Martin sadly just don’t have anything to say, it’s shallow and unoriginal, it lacks a bigger energy and a stronger direction. Their characters are entirely self-serving and that’s what the film gives you, it’s unflattering and has little tangible entertainment value. There was a slight potential in its story but it goes unfulfilled.