[box cover]

Two Girls and a Guy

When a handcuffed Robert Downey Jr. was shown on television being led to jail a few years back, director James Toback was inspired to write a movie script for his old friend — Downey had starred in one of Toback's earlier films, The Pick-up Artist. The resulting film, Two Girls and a Guy, is Toback's take on modern romance and "love, sex, deception, and personality conflicts." The story opens with Carla (Heather Graham) and Lou (Natasha Gregson Wagner) outside an apartment house, both waiting for their boyfriend to show up. A casual conversation quickly turns emotional when the women realize they are waiting for the same man, Blake (Downey). Angry and feeling betrayed, they break into Blake's apartment and proceed to compare notes — each discovering that he has been lavishing on both of them the same words of love and commitment. When Blake arrives at the apartment and discovers the two women have found out about each other, he plays the part of a victim and tries a number of other antics to persuade these two that he loves them both, asking them to bear with him as he attempts to "make some sense of this fiasco" he's created. But as the afternoon passes and reveals the true natures of these three lovers, we come to realize that they are all deceitful in their attempts to get what they need — love becomes less of an issue than the quest to have one's own wants satisfied. The three characters in Two Girls and a Guy are a good match for each other — they all know how to get their way. All three leading actors are refreshing in their aggressiveness and self-sufficiency, and there are some very poignant scenes amongst this fine trio, but the film unravels too many times in between to hold the viewer's attention. The movie is full of words that tumble from the actors, but too often this rush of phrases and ideas becomes monotonous. Downey does well here (particularly in one very raw scene where he has a conversation with himself about getting his act together), but it isn't his best work — somehow it feels as though he is a little out of his element. Both Graham and Wagner are fascinating to watch and have moments when they really shine, but the looseness of the film's narrative makes it difficult to sustain interest. Fox's DVD comes in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby 2.0 Surround. A commentary with Toback, Downey, and Gregson Wagner is stilted and not very revealing — Downey is reticent and only minimally verbal, and Toback sounds apologetic too much of the time. Theatrical trailer, keep-case.
—Kerry Fall

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