Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 19, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Anything But Love

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Lewis, Anne Magnuson, John Ritter, Bruce Weitz

We gave it a C+

Billie Golden (Isabel Rose), the old-fashioned, redheaded heroine in the modern-day romantic trifle Anything but Love, tunes out her drab life as a Queens waitress who lives at home with her widowed alcoholic mother while singing cabaret standards at a dinky local boîte. In her head, Billie is Audrey Hepburn in ”Breakfast at Tiffany”’s, or maybe Rita Hayworth in ”Gilda.” But when Billie sings — dressed to the movie-swanky, Technicolor hilt in satiny gowns and nightclub glitter — her voice is thin and demure, her glamour synthetic and posed rather than innate.

The frustration of this good-hearted, off-key warble of an indie, written by Rose with Robert Cary, who directed, is that the filmmaking pales when compared with the classic elements of 1950s and early ’60s romantic musicals to which it pays homage. Billie’s dilemma: Should she commit to the handsome, tone-deaf corporate lawyer (Cameron Bancroft) who offers her conventional security, or to the broody musician (Andrew McCarthy) who hears her tune and has a greater tolerance for her kooky wardrobe? Eartha Kitt appears as herself, offering advice, only to squander her chanteuse cred at an amateur’s cabaret.

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