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Love, Ludlow.

A Washington Square Films presentation. (International sales: Washington Square Films, New York.) Produced by Amy Hobby, Joshua Blum. Executive producer, David L. Patterson.

Directed by Adrienne Weiss. Screenplay, David L. Patterson, based on his play "Finger Painting in a Murphy Bed." Camera (Technicolor), Ruben O'Malley; editor, Eric Pomert; music, tomandandy; music supervisor, Lyle Hysen; production designer, Edwige Geminel; costume designer, Angela Wendt; sound (Dolby), Thomas Jordan; sound designer, Fred Helm; supervising sound editor, Helm; associate producer, Melvyn I. Weiss; assistant director; Katy Finch. Reviewed on videodisc, Los Angeles, April 11, 2005. (In Method Fest; also in Sundance Film Festival--American Spectrum.) Running time: 88 MIN.

With: Alicia Goranson, David Eigenberg, Brendon Sexton III, Jay Patterson, Andrea Maulella.

A strained innocence coats "Love, Ludlow" in a schmaltzy mixture of forced sentiment and overacting that adds a punctuation mark to every sentence. Script by David L. Patterson slightly expands his play, "Finger Painting on a Murphy Bed," about two Gotham lonely hearts whose potential romance is complicated by the gal's "special needs" brother, with whom she shares a Queens apartment. But while pic isn't the least bit stage-bound, it's saddled with emphatic theatrical effects and feels exceptionally slight, blunting its chances to connect with auds past select fest venues, which began with Sundance in January.

Myra (Alicia Goranson) gives everyone sarcastic guff at her secretarial office job--where she works on a typewriter, not a computer--including shy exec Reggie (David Eigenberg), who can hardly hide his attraction for her.

Back home, Myra mothers her sibling Ludlow (Brendon Sexton III). Their mother committed suicide over two years ago, but Myra's burden is veritably Christ-like, since Ludlow is a jerk who solicits sympathy for being a bi-polar guy with a yen for painting. However, Ludlow's jerkiness comes out when Reggie pops by to take Myra out on a date. Simply, Ludlow won't tolerate another man in Myra's life.

Shards of "The Glass Menagerie" and numerous other plays about off-key loners-in-love are sprinkled throughout the pic, and Reggie's role as a catalyst for Myra to make changes in her life is all too obvious. In this essentially three-hander film (filled out with a few jokers back at the office), director Adrienne Weiss gives her actors unaccountable free rein to play to the back of the house and then some. Perfs collectively strain for effect, and Sexton's penchant for adopting childlike manners guarantees that this Ludlow is completely unlikable.

Weiss, with lenser Ruben O'Malley and production designer Edwige Geminel, opt for an extremely bright and over-lit look (outdoors and in) that appears designed for nostalgic effect yet isn't fully developed. Music by the always reliable group tomandandy is relatively contempo.

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Author:Koehler, Robert
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Apr 25, 2005
Words:442
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