LOVER'S KNOT premiered at the Mann Theater in Westwood
Starring Jennifer Grey, Billy Campbell and Tim Curry


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LOVER'S KNOT is an original, irreverent romantic comedy which humorously explores how love and passion evolve over the course of a developing relationship. It revolves around one central question: How do you keep love alive? Unless STEVE HUNTER (Bill Campbell) can find the answer to this question, his relationship with MEGAN FORRESTER (Jennifer Grey) could be doomed.

Unbeknownst to Steve and Megan, they aren't in this alone. They are being guided and "advised" by one of Cupid's Caseworkers (Tim Curry) who has been struggling to get Steve and Megan together for many lifetimes. He might actually have a chance this lifetime if it weren't for JOHN (Adam Baldwin), Megan's old boyfriend who is determined to get her back. Add to this the conflicting advice of Steve's roommate, NIGEL (Mark Sheppard) and Steve's temptation for CHERYL, a sensual coed, and it begins to look like this is one more lifetime Steve and Megan won't spend together.

As we follow their developing relationship, Steve and Megan comment to the audience on significant events as they are happening. And in addition to several friends, relatives and previous lovers, various experts on love from Shakespeare to Marlowe to Dr. Joyce Brothers unexpectedly show up to offer the audience their personal opinions.

There's romance, intrigue, laughter and a great sword fight. But most of all, there's passion. And caught in the middle are Steve and Megan, desperately trying to untangle the snarl of emotions and expectations known as the LOVER'S KNOT.


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THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - "Lover's Knot," a first feature by Pete Shaner, is one of those self-consciously quirky romantic comedies in which everybody speaks to the camera more than they speak to each other.

It's a device that only really works in very limited doses or in Woody Allen films, neither of which happens to be the case here. To add to the gimmickry, writer-director Shaner also throws in a little stupid Cupid with Tim Curry playing a heaven-sent emissary of love who has been dispatched to bring principals Bill Campbell and Jennifer Grey together in matters of amour.

Again, it's a familiar bit of movie shtick that hasn't been given enough of a polish to make the retread worthwhile. As a result, "Lover's Knot" is a bit of a tangle, with all the cute business strangling what might have been a satisfying portrait of the anatomy of a relationship. This independent release won't be tying up screens for very long before finding its true destiny on the video racks.

Campbell and Grey have a nice mutual charisma as the objects of Cupid's arrows. He's Steve Hunter, a poetry scholar who turns to Shakespeare and Marlowe for romantic inspiration. She's Megan Forrester, a doctor who hasn't properly dealt with her breakup with old boyfriend and fellow medic John Reed (Adam Baldwin), who refuses to bow out of her life gracefully.

Cupid's Caseworker (Curry) has little problem bringing Megan and Steve together. The tricky part is keeping them that way once the initial sparks of a fresh relationship have subsided, and it is in its depiction of those various stages of togetherness that the picture works most effectively.

Rather than building on those potentially comic dynamics, Shaner instead relies too heavily on those above-mentioned gimmicks to get laughs, and the upshot leaves Campbell and Grey with little to work with in frustratingly fractured sequences.

DAILY VARIETY - Despite Tim Curry's Brit accent, "Lover's Knot" is pure American collegiate humor. This perky celebration of supposedly modern romance will appeal exclusively to TV viewers with a wholesome view of sex and romance, after which it may be found on the family shelf of vid stores.

The story is told cleverly enough by interlacing the action with comments by characters and various onlookers who range from Dr. Joyce Brothers to Shakespeare and John Donne addressing the camera to opine about the romance in progress. Curry pops up as a knowitall angel sent by Cupid to bring together couples who are meant for each other.

The pair in question is Steve (Bill Campbell), a young college English teacher with a thing for Renaissance poetry, and Megan (Jennifer Grey), a strongminded pediatrician with a practical view of love who has just broken up with a plastic surgeon (Adam Baldwin). Cupid's minion oversees their first encounter, courtship, lovemaking, first breakup and no surprise last-scene reconciliation; his sardonic comments have a comparatively sophisticated ring after Steve and Megan's silly antics.

Steve is convinced that by studying the great romantic poets of yore he will discover the secret of making love last. His imaginative courtship of Megan works, and they move in together. But his late-night thesis-writing and awkwardness lead to their parting ways. It takes Curry's help to get them back in each other's arms.

At times, director Peter Shaner seems to be sending up his characters' unbearably conventional mores. A goofy young married couple "interviewed" about the meaning of love is a laugh, and Steve's old roommate a confirmed Don Giovanni perpetually surrounded by sexy playmate types is a breath of fresh air.

But leads Campbell and Grey fall all too neatly into "Lover's Knot's" banal college humor. A couple whose biggest trauma is a fight about who takes out the garbage ("You won't work at this relationship!" she complains) is really beyond critique.

Making the film watchable is its pace, achieved by the intercut interviews, fantasy cutaways and guest cameos by the likes of Adam Ant and Brothers. A few of these inserts hit the mark, but most barbs fall lamely on the ground, along with the rest of the dialogue.

Tech work is very much in the spirit of the film: even lighting, cozy domestic interiors and a medley of romantic background songs.

DRAMALOGUE - Legacy/ Two Pauls Entertainment. Produced by Paul A. Kaufman and Paul Rauch; executive producer, Randy Simon; directed and written by Pete Shaner; director of photography, Garett Griffin; editor, Tatiana S. Riegel; production design, David Huang, music, Laura Karpman; casting, Victoria Burrows, Slater/ Burrows Casting.

Lover's Knot is an amiable if lightweight romance that alternately is enriched by its elements of fantasy: an earthly representative of Cupid who is stuck with the tough job of keeping a pair of lovers together who (unbeknownst to one another) have consistently mucked up every opportunity history has previously given them in past lives. This time around, Steve is a college lecturer with a passion for Shakespeare, and Megan is a medical doctor with a boorish exboyfriend. Steve and Megan meet, charm each other, alienate each other, make up, move in and then the real trouble starts.

Writer/director Pete Shaner gets points for trying to wring romance and laughs out of the tangle at the heart of many relationships. He's got some zingy oneliners and intelligent observations and while Steve seems just a bit of a wussy, it's hard not to like a hero who agrees in earnest to take an HIV test before becoming physical with his lady. The gambit of having historical figures everyone from William Shakespeare to Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island weigh in with their two cents on the situation goes from being quite funny to not working at all, depending on the character and the nature of the observation. The concept of a Cupid's Caseworker hovering about is amusing, and Tim Curry certainly makes the most of the supernatural entity, but we're led to believe that he's going to affect the plot more than he seems to; the figure turns into something of a red herring. Shaner also starts to let his characters down in the third act, with Megan behaving irrationally (she might perhaps kick Steve out for being inattentive, but would she. really so much as give a goodnight kiss to the domineering John?) and Steve doing something that is presumably meant to make him look manly and instead injects a note of jarring incivility into the otherwise frothy proceedings.

Bill Campbell is sweet and eager as the kind if clueless Steve, and Jennifer Grey is wary yet warm as the previously burned Megan. Curry is good fun as the helping hand from beyond and Adam Baldwin is a perfectly smarmy bully as the odious John. Kristin Minter is amusing as a literally bouncy college student who can't contain her crush on Steve.

LA WEEKLY - Tim Curry, as explained in an embarrassingly precious opening monologue, is Cupid's assistant, sent by the boss to oversee a pair of soul mates on the verge of self destruction. It seems the couple Steve, a puppyeyed romantic-poetry professor (Bill Campbell), and Megan, a lithe and sensible pediatrician (Jennifer Grey) have been at the game many times in past lives, only to muck it up bigtime in the end.

This, we are told, is their, last chance to get it right' The lovers-in-jeopardy premise is old hat, but its telling here is surprisingly fresh. Despite Curry's smarmy opener, the film's formula of tossing off vignettes from the pairs lite together, then offering them up for to-the- camera commentary, allows for some pretty decent comedy. Among those offering insights are Steve, Megan and Curry's puckish sprite, William Shakespeare, Adam Ant looking good as saucy pool Marvell, Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island) and that elusive craftsman, Allen Smithee. If, at times, the picture smacks cloyingly of Harry Met Sally and J. Crew, Pete Shaner's wryly funny script and smartly restrained direction also spike the syrup with a definite tang, while measured performances help make for an entirely entertaining couple of hours. (Mann Westwood).


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