The Movie Hero (2003)

Rating: C+

Dir: Brad Gottfried
Star: Jeremy Sisto, Dina Meyer, Peter Stormare, Brian White

Finally, a romantic comedy about schizophrenia. At least, that’s how this seems at first, with Blake (Sisto) believing an audience watches his every move, as in The Truman Show. He thinks his court-appointed shrink (Meyer) is his love interest, and a suspicious character on a Hollywood corner (Stormare), his nemesis. But maybe – just maybe – he can see something denied to the vast majority of the population. It’s a nice idea, albeit one struggling to fill a whole feature. While Blake is engagingly eccentric [“How sweet to be an idiot”, as Neil Innes said], the script over-concentrates on what is little more than a predictable romance.

Rather than this love triangle – completed by the inevitable ‘doomed fiance’ – much more interesting is Stormare, clearly engaged in nefarious business of some sort and bringing an edgy twitch to every scene in which he appears. At its best, it plays with the mechanics of cinema, such as when Blake debates with his sidekick whether or not this is the right moment for a chase sequence. Tinseltown is an appropriately surreal setting, though the reflexive nature might be too smugly self-referential for many, and it’s undeniably gimmicky. No denying the unique spirit though, and cinema buffs should find themselves leaving with a warm smile and mild inner glow.