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Despite being released in Stateside cinemas in 2002, it is only now that UK viewers will have a chance to catch the romcom I'm With Lucy, albeit with a 'direct to DVD' tag. So, why the three-year wait? Surely the film can't be that bad? Right?

I'm with Lucy
Film
After reuniting with an old friend, Lucy (Monica Potter) swiftly announces her engagement by declaring that, after years of searching, she's finally found her Mr Right. Unfortunately, Lucy is keeping schtum over the name and details of the lucky guy, but will reveal that she initially met him on a blind-date within the last twelve months. This narrows it down to five men to whom, in the form of a series of flashbacks, we are introduced.

Could it be bachelor number one? Doug (John Hannah) is an 'antamologist'(!) who's decidedly nervy and has to contend with a drunk Lucy on a raucous date in a restaurant. Is there love in the air or just a lot of alcohol?

How about Gabriel (Gael Garcia Bernal), AKA Number two? He's dark and mysterious and talks Lucy into bed within moments of meeting her. Can a relationship develop after such a passionate introduction or is it a case of 'too much, too soon'?

Perhaps it will third time lucky for Lucy. Bobby (Anthony LaPaglia), is a baseball player for the Mets and, at first glance, seems rather arrogant. Can Lucy find the sweeter side that lies beneath this chauvinistic exterior?

Number four come on down...That's Barry (Henry Thomas), a slightly geeky guy who works for a software company. Within minutes of meeting Lucy, he's been kidnapped by her parents. Will they scare him away or leave him wanting more?

Last but not least is the dashing Luke (David Boreanaz) who Lucy meets while holidaying in Miami. Luke is smart, good-looking and has pots of cash. He ticks all the boxes but is he the man for our leading lady?

I'm with Lucy
These five characters are, in essence, the unusual suspects in a whodunit with a difference; just which of these bachelors popped the question to Lucy? As we flit from date to date with casual abandon, it's no surprise to learn that each of the Prince Charmings are very different but, despite their flaws, it's hinted that Lucy could end up with any one of them.

You get the feeling that the screenwriter of I'm with Lucy intended to revive the genre of the romantic comedy by creating a film that is completely unpredictable. After all, how many romcoms can boast five leading man? Strange then, that it's is just another nail in the coffin of the genre. The problem is that the film relies on its central gimmick of showcasing the five dates rather than concentrating on a linear plot. While this is a nice take on the well-worn story of ‘Girl Meets Boy, Girl Loses Boy, Girl gets Boy back again’, things are hampered by the way we can pick the 'winning' guy within two minutes of meeting him. Since the film is then forced to concentrate on, what automatically become, incidental characters, the result is something slightly pointless.

There's also a lack of discernible conflict meaning that the resolution, when it comes, feels half-hearted. After ninety minutes, we've sat through little more than an uninvolving sketch show (and not a particularly funny one at that). The humour, such as it is, relies on little more than some gentle misunderstandings and the embarrassment of social situations.

Potter is not quite the leading lady this sort of venture requires. Since her character is onscreen for all but two of the film's scenes, she has to contend with the possibility that sooner or later we're going to get bored with her company. She is a reasonable actress but she fails to make Lucy even likeable; mainly since the character is written as a bitter and rather rude singleton.  

I'm with Lucy
On a similar note, our five leading men are all restrained by playing bland stereotypes. It's largely a losing battle but Anthony LaPaglia and Henry Thomas (who must be wishing that E.T. had saved him a seat on that spaceship after years of duff movies) at least seem to be enjoying themselves.

While in theory, the film should be wonderful, on paper it's a different story. Bland characterisation and a lack of laughs mean that this is ultimately a waste of everyone’s time. While its intentions are good and it is never unwatchable, I'm with Lucy fails on too many counts to live long in the memory.

Video
An unspectacular transfer does the job for I'm with Lucy with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 anamorphic. Picture quality seems to vary from scene to scene (noticeable due to the choppy nature of the feature). Grain is more apparent, for example, in the scenes set in sunny Miami as opposed to those set in a crowded restaurant. Although the colours are strong and vibrant and skin-tones are good, a lack of sharpness is also a bit of a bugbear.

I'm with Lucy
Audio
As with most comedy features, the 5.1 track is an unambitious affair with a minimal use of the surround sound features. This is clearly a mainstay of the genre and not a fault of the disc. Dialogue is crisp and concisely handled through the front speaker and the numerous music tracks that populate the film sound pleasing through the audio channels.

Extras
Interviews with the cast and crew are the main draw in terms of extras. These were conducted during filming of the feature, so there's nothing to get too excited about amidst the sound-bites and superlatives. Forget about genuine insight; this is about marketing. Viewed together, they make up a fairly lengthy Q&A reel but whether you'd ever be prepared to sit down and watch it in its entirety is another matter.

And that's about all we get, save for an unremarkable trailer which presents the film's central gimmick in a thoroughly uninteresting manner.

I'm with Lucy
Overall
Rest assured that there have been far worse films that have managed to make it to cinemas. However, it's doubtful that I'm with Lucy will find a decent audience on DVD; the feature is heavily flawed and the extras are severely lacking. If the plot sounds intriguing, then this may be worth a rent but you should approach with a degree of trepidation.  


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