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Dorfman in Love a Passable Rom-Com

Poor Elliot Gould. The once venerable actor has been reduced to playing nothing but crotchety old men — and, in the case of Brad Leong's Dorfman in Love, homophobic ones at that. Gould's obsessively grieving widower does loosen up as the film goes on, and he plays only a supporting role (the father of the protagonist), but his whining in what is otherwise a passable rom-com leaves a bad taste. As does the film's simplistic geographical dichotomy between the Valley (a setting more like 1950s Iowa than 21st-century Los Angeles), where Deb Dorfman (Sara Rue) lives with her old man, and downtown L.A. (a scary place full of homeless people). When Deb comes to house-sit at the new D-Town condo of her friend and longtime crush, she has trouble adjusting to the different lifestyle, at least until she meets hunky neighbor Cookie (Haaz Sleiman), who shows her the town and with whom she inevitably falls in love. But even as Deb comes to embrace the vibrancy of urban life, she's still prey to a blinkered suburban viewpoint that becomes inscribed in the film itself, never more questionably than when Leong attempts to milk laughs from watching his clueless heroine upbraiding a panhandler for his ill manners.
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Andrew Schenker

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