‘Old Fashioned’: A Story That Lives Up To Its Name
Once upon a time romantic movies told romantic stories about romantic people doing romantic things – and that formula was enough for the movie-going public.
Somewhere along the way the tastes of that public changed and romantic movies had to have a hook to grab any attention – Meg Ryan faking it in a diner, Meg Ryan calling into a radio show, Meg Ryan reading her email … sparkly vampires. And like that (insert Keyser Soze impression here) it was gone.
Sure, Nicholas Sparks has helped revive the genre a bit, but even his stories tend to have a hook – the love between virtual strangers overcoming tragedy or at the very least laughing in the face of tragedy.
And then sometimes you get a romance like “Old Fashioned,” which has a second screening this afternoon (4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22) at the Twin Cities Film Fest, that lives up to its title.
The film stars Rik Swartzwelder (who also wrote and directed) as Clay, a born again Christian who has put his frat boy lifestyle behind him, and Elizabeth Roberts as Amber – a free spirit who moves from place to place in search of the right place to call home.
The duo strikes up a friendship when Amber rents the apartment above Clay’s antique shop. Despite their differences – and Clay’s old fashioned philosophies on “dating” – love happens.
And that’s really about it. Sure, there are a few ups and downs and a couple of rough patches, but the love story really is the central subject matter.
And that’s not a bad thing, nor is it a particularly good … it happens and then it’s just kind of there.
If there’s a negative to be found, it’s with pacing. While it comes in at just under two hours, “Old Fashioned” feels much longer. The story is slow at times and occasionally the dialogue feels a little forced and preachy, but that part is short-lived.
On the positive side is the performance of Roberts – she really lights up the screen whenever she’s on and makes it easy to believe that someone could so easily fall for Amber.
For those looking for a no frills approach to romantic movies – this is the answer.
★★1/2 of ★★★★★