head over heels(2001)
director: mark s. waters
monica potter, freddie prinze jr., shalom harlow

. Head Over Heels is set in yet another cartoon New York, populated by romantic museum workers, preening models and Russian gangsters. Monica Potter plays Amanda, a single girl cursed with the world’s worst judgement in men. Burned yet again, she moves into a fabulous apartment (available for the asking in the various cartoon New Yorks imagined in the movies) with a quartet of models played, to no particularly stunning effect, by real supermodels such as Shalom Harlow and Ivana Milicevic. 

She meets the perfect man, of course, played by Freddie Prinze Jr., a fashion exec whose boyish charm and hint of real moral substance wouldn’t last through Fashion Week in the real world. It’s the first hint that he might not be what he seems. Amanda doesn’t trust it either, and her suspicions are confirmed when she witnesses him committing what seems to be a cold-blooded murder. 

If you take away the crudely funny toilet humour and half-hearted jabs at “Sex and the City”-style bawdy gynecological drollery, it would be the plot of a 1930s screwball comedy, with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant in the lead roles, directed with near-hysterical pacing by Howard Hawks or Frank Capra. As it stands, Mark Water’s direction is limp and standard, the plot complications so thunderously obvious that we never have a chance to wince or groan at the corkscrew of fate that the couple should run, like a gauntlet, before they deserve a happy ending.

On the plus side, Monica Potter is a charmingly daft heroine, suitably wide-eyed and smarting from the consequences of her own naiveté. Prinze is less successful, giving little hint of the possible menace or darkness that an actor like Grant could reveal behind his bottomless suaveness. They don’t, alas, make ‘em like they used to.