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Jason Lewis in a scene from "Textuality"

2 out of 4 stars

Country
USA
Language
English

Slap fresh bread around grey meat and it's still a bad sandwich. Stick high-tech phones in a stale rom-com and it's still a musty movie. The only thing novel about Textuality is the title. All the rest is just the same old triviality.

In this incarnation, boy has yet to meet girl at the outset, though they do share a modus vivendi. Both are starved for romance but satiated with sex. A hunky investment broker with a penthouse lifestyle, Breslin (Jason Lewis) had his heart broken six months ago, and now spends his time offering his lower parts for casual use to a trio of women. Simone (Carly Pope) is involved in a clichéd affair with a married man but, since the role of a mistress is to wait, she fills the intervals enjoying the manly attention of her "three musketeers." Understandably, in these matters, much juggling is required to maintain their busy sexual schedules. Enter the cellphone.

So, as the keys get punched, director Warren P. Sonoda has the text messages popping up boldly right on the big screen, a bit of cinematic wizardry that demands a compliment in kind: "U R GR8." Occasionally, other social media make an appearance, such as when Simone, feeling neglected by the married guy, deepens her blues by masochistically scanning the hubby-and-wife photos on his Facebook page. Similarly, in a moment of post-coital ambition, one of Breslin's regular hotties dares to wonder aloud, "How come your profile still says you're single?" Such is a lover's lot in the wired world.

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But check out this irony: When boy finally meets girl, it's a pair of pre-electronic, nay, pre-industrial, devices that brings them together - fate and hoary coincidence. In a big city of millions (vaguely Toronto), they literally run into each other. Breslin is instantly smitten, but Simone, still entangled in that mistress business and surprisingly busy at her job as "full-time blogger, part-time artist," resists his overtures. In other words, he texts her ardently while she proves a desultory correspondent.

Of course, no stale rom-com is complete without the comic-relief buddy, who, as played by screenwriter Liam Card, is the repository of relationship advice. What's more, he also appears to be independently wealthy, which makes for all manner of eccentricities along with his own impressive roster of female companions. The latter are categorized by ethnicity in the ring tones of his cellphone. Apparently, bagpipe tune = Scottish babe. Such is a libertine's lot in the wired age.

Speaking of music, this is the sort of movie that intermittently comes to a complete halt, long enough to allow some loud song to blare obtrusively from the soundtrack. Respite over, it's back to injecting the romantic complications.

The pathway to amour seems clear when Simone fires her three sexual objects, and Breslin gets fired by his trio, but that married fellow has the gall to clutter things up again. Damn, we have to wait for the happy resolution, although not for the snappy moral: "There's a time to have fun, and then there's a time to have a lovely, beautiful partnership."

Gosh, such tweet inspiration makes my heart all a-twitter.

Textuality

  • Directed by Warren P. Sonoda
  • Written by Liam Card
  • Starring Jason Lewis and Carly Pope
  • Classification: 14A


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About the Author
Film critic

Rick Groen is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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