Movie Review: For Love & Stacie
For Love & Stacie walks a fine line between sweet and creepy — and consistently falls on the side of creepy. Filmmaker Michael Davis’s premise sounds like a bad idea right for the start: After being dumped by the supposed “love of his life,” Davis decides to make a film to win her back.
The first half of the movie or so is peppered with some verite interviews where Davis queries various women on the street about what they think of his idea. I don’t remember how they all respond exactly, but most of them seem to think it’s a sweet idea. Some outright, others reluctantly. However, they’re probably imagining some sort of charming poetic ode to the nature of love. Instead, Davis’s tribute to Stacie plays out like an extended version of that classic scene in Swingers where Jon Favreau verbally wrestles with a girl’s answering machine.
Most, if not all, guys have made that awkward phone call that they eventually realize they shouldn’t have made. Sometimes it’s immediately afterward, other times it can be weeks later. Guys are capable of committing an infinite amount of stupid acts in trying to get a girl. It’s just that most of them don’t do it while a videotape is running.
It’s painfully clear from the first second of the film that Davis isn’t capable of making a “sweet” film or a poetic ode to his ex-girlfriend. Oh, he may think he is, but it’s apparent that he’s embarking on this project out of desperation, not love. Brandon, a singer-songwriter, tries to talk Davis out of making this film while Tracie acts like yeah he might have a chance… but it’s clear she’s just being polite. And of course Davis’s project is never about Stacie at all. It’s all about Davis.
For the most part, we never really do get to know Stacie all that well. For a videographer who now confides all his deep, dark innermost thoughts to the camera, it seems a little odd that Davis didn’t catch much of Stacie on tape when they were dating. We see a little bit of her in some archival footage, so that we get a good enough sense of her as a person, but we don’t really know what it is that draws Davis to her. Why is he so in love with her? Or is he at all? Does he just like having her around because he’s a whiny creep and she’s very cute and perky?
For Love & Stacie is really 90 minutes of near constant yammering by Davis. For the most part, he is intriguing enough to carry the movie and he gets himself into situations trying to win Stacie back that you can at least relate to him in terms of the equally embarassing moments from your own life. But at the same time, he does get a little grating on the nerves and you’d just like to hear people other than him talk for an extended period of time. Even when Davis interviews other people and doesn’t appear on camera himself, he leaves his questions in and constantly prods his subjects along, none of whom ever really seem to want to be in the film.
Also, with this kind of film, there’s really basically only one way it can end. And given my harsh drubbing of Davis throughout this review, I hope I haven’t unwittingly given too much away. Because like an action movie where you know the main character is going to win the day, the fun is watching how he does it. In this case, it’s not “fun,” it’s painful. But it’s still a thrill ride anyway watching someone completely disintegrate.