Is whimsicality the last refuge of the mediocre? In the sad-sack London ensemble comedy Born Romantic, a tall, sloping Scottish fellow who has just struck out with a girl sits at home watching Vic Damone on his black-and-white telly, and the film is so pushy about getting us to view this guy as a huggable sweet lonelyheart that instead of letting him exist in his unhappy moment, it has to throw in the dumbed-down kicker of a coffee cup sliding its way across the tilted kitchen table. Why, even this man’s beverage rejects him! How cute. How coy. How completely and utterly tiresome.
”Born Romantic” is the sort of melancholia-lite movie in which characters are paired off like lovelorn puppies. The bearded punk who plasters his neighborhood with Xeroxed ”Have you seen…” handbills of his ex-girlfriend; the neckbraced neurotic who works as a grave sitter; the saintly dreadlocked cabbie — these feel like instant indie-spirit clichés, given a simulacrum of cred by the scrappy photography. ”Born Romantic” means well, but the film is so innocuous it’s stillborn.