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Unconditional Love
cast: Kathy Bates, Rupert Everett, Meredith Eaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Lynn Redgrave

director: P.J. Hogan

116 minutes (15) 2001
EV VHS rental or retail
Also available to rent or buy on DVD

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
Grace Beasley (Kathy Bates) is not having a good day. First her husband Max (Dan Aykroyd) leaves her. Then popular lounge singer Victor Fox (Jonathan Pryce), of whom Grace is a huge fan, is shot dead by a crossbow-wielding killer. Grace attends the funeral, and together with her daughter-in-law Maudey (Meredith Eaton) and Dirk Simpson, Victor's publicly unacknowledged long-time companion, finds her life about to change completely.
   P.J. Hogan (Paul to his nearest and dearest, but professionally initialled to avoid confusion with Crocodile Dundee) is an Australian director who made his name with two tarter-than-usual romantic comedies involving weddings, Muriel's Wedding and My Best Friend's Wedding. Obviously aiming to show that their talents stretch beyond nuptials, he and his producer and co-writer wife Jocelyn Moorhouse (also a director) serve up Unconditional Love. This is a strange film, which doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a platonic-romantic comedy (where he's gay and she's straight) mixed in with a serial-killer thriller. Tone shifts aren't easy to do and it looks like this is a film that has slipped out of its makers' control. It earns points for including a dwarf (Maudey) who is a rounded character in her own right - though it also allows Hogan to work in a few overt references to Don't Look Now. There are appearances as themselves from Julie Andrews, Barry Manilow and Sally Jessy Raphael. However, at almost two hours the film is overlong and is something of a misfire. Hogan has since gone on to direct 2003's live-action version of Peter Pan.
   Unconditional Love was reviewed on a copy of the rental VHS. This edition is full-frame pan-and-scan, except for the opening credits, which are letterboxed in 2.35:1. The DVD release contains deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer.

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