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Seeing Other People

Seeing Other People — an indie romantic comedy about testing the limits of love and faithfulness — is refreshingly different from its recent romantic comedy peers. But it still doesn't quite click, mostly because its lead actors are sorely lacking in the chemistry department. Julianne Nicholson comes of as a bit of a cold fish as Alice, who's engaged to TV writer Ed (Jay Mohr, whose snarkiness shows through no matter how nice and normal his character is meant to be). As their walk down the aisle approaches, Alice frets that she doesn't have enough history — i.e. that she hasn't slept with enough people. In order to get a few more notches on her bedpost before she ties the knot, Alice talks Ed into agreeing to see other people until their wedding. Just sex, mind you — no emotional entanglements, which should keep things simple and prevent the plan from screwing up their cozy, stable relationship. Riiiiiiiight. Faster than you can say "Dr. Phil," Alice gets involved with handsome contractor Donald (Matthew Davis), and Ed is chasing anything with breasts to get back at her. While the consequences of Alice's plan were never in doubt (when does extracurricular sex not mess up a relationship?), the outcome for her and Ed isn't quite as certain — which is one of the reasons Seeing Other People stands out from the oh-so-predictable romantic comedy crowd. Other pluses include the strong dialogue and the funny supporting cast: Josh Charles, Andy Richter (who gets a poignant subplot of his own), Lauren Graham, and Bryan Cranston are all solid comedic players, sending up various showbiz types with glee. But a romance succeeds or fails on the strength of its leads, and Nicholson and Mohr just can't make it work. As appealing as the script makes their relationship sound (all of their friends see them as the perfect couple), they don't bring it to life convincingly. It's hard to root for them to stay together when you don't see why they're together in the first place. That said, Seeing Other People is one of the stronger, more audience-friendly titles in the Sundance's Channel's home video catalog, and it's worth a watch if you like romantic comedies. It comes to DVD in a nice 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio. Extras include a spirited commentary by co-writers/spouses Wally Wolodarsky (who also directed) and Maya Forbes, a behind-the-scenes featurette (5 min.), a couple of brief deleted scenes (both wisely cut), the trailer, and previews for other Sundance films. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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