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Love Potion # 9

Content-free, yet paradoxically derivative, Love Potion # 9 (1992) is more or less a complete waste of time. The sole directorial effort (so far) of screenwriter Dale Launer (My Cousin Vinny), it's the story of geeky biochemist Paul Matthews (Tate Donovan) who stumbles upon a love potion dispensed by a gypsy, played by Anne Bancroft (who, by the way, gives him love potion # 8, even though the movie is inspired by the Leiber and Stoller rock tune). Matthews then makes himself and Diane (Sandra Bullock), the fellow scientist he has a crush on, human guinea pigs for the substance. Diane has a long-term relationship with a handsome louse, who then secretly uses the potion to enslave her into marriage. The climax of the film is a Graduate-esque race against time by Matthews to the wedding ceremony. The plot of Love Potion # 9 is predictable and the dialogue is not funny — perhaps never have so many worked so hard for so little. With so much material in Hollywood, it's hard to figure out why this movie (which made only $754,935 and was barely released) should enjoy life first on Laserdisc and now on DVD. No matter. Students of Sandra Bullock may wish to familiarize themselves with this early role, more or less her seventh movie, but others will find this a limp rendition of Howard Hawks' similar Monkey Business. The anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) is fine for what it is, while audio is in Dolby Digital 4.0 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Extras on the Fox disc comprise a fairly useless three-minute "making-of" featurette (which is really an extended trailer), the actual theatrical trailer, TV spots, and bonus trailers for other romance movies from Fox, with or without Bullock. Keep-case.
—D.K. Holm

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