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Chasing Amy Internet Movie Database Logo

Most of you probably know already of the movie's premise—a man falls in love with a lesbian, who then must turn her entire way of thinking upside down to love him back. It's about much more, unfortunately, and it seems like Kevin Smith (writer/director of the cult indy fave "Clerks") doesn't have the ammunition to keep his delicate juggling act aloft.

Smith is at his best when the characters talk like those of us in our 20s do—nobody in moviedom, with the exception of Richard Linklater, has an ear for the urban colloquial like he does. His characters are all as casually profane as most of my friends are, and when they share their urban myths with one another, it is like being in on a brotherly joke. Where Smith is weakest, though, is sadly the most important part of moviemaking - basic human motivation. Alyssa's decision to love Holden (played by an understated Ben Affleck against Joey Adams' spunky Alyssa) despite being a lesbian not only makes NO sense, but it adds fuel to the homophobic mantra that all lesbians are really just looking for the right guy. There are other unresolved and confusing sexual issues dealing with Holden's best friend and comic-illustrating partner Banky (Jason Lee), but these are all overshadowed by the film's largely unbelievable ending. Smith forces the audience to believe that there is someone really as pathetic and lame as Holden in the final climax, despite a movie-ful of evidence to the contrary, and it makes for a decidedly uncomfortable conclusion.

Still, it's hard to hate Smith for what he's done, as it is clearly an intelligent outing in so many respects and genuinely funny in others. We give much worse movies much more slack. All he needs is a powerful nudge in the right direction.

—Ian Williams

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