Feast of Love is a cozy little romantic roundelay with a big heart and an open mind. It's the kind of movie they just don't make much anymore. It's meandering, messy and completely resistant to a quick summary; it's a small little flick filled with big names, one that desperately wants you to love it, but keeps toying with your affection.
Multiple story lines are clumsily held together by Morgan Freeman's deep and soothing narration. Freeman appears too, strolling through several scenes as Harry, a philosophy professor who's lost his mojo.
On an extended hiatus, Harry now prefers to spend his time wandering around Portland, Ore., dispensing relationship advice to the lovelorn like a wizened, tweed-jacketed Mary Worth. Dopey living-doormat Bradley (Greg Kinnear) is a nice guy with a tragic addiction to bad girls. He's very much in need of Harry's wisdom. First-love struck Brad is too giddily oblivious to notice that his wife (Selma Blair) is making major goo-goo eyes at the shortstop on her femme softball team and then he's too desperate to notice that his sexy real estate agent girlfriend (Radha Mitchell) isn't just selling him a new house but lines of crap about her faithfulness. She's still caught up in an affair with a shallow married man, played by Billy Burke as if he's a preening yuppie villain straight from a mid-'80s rom com.
There's also the story of doomed young love between cutesy, Hot Topic-outfitted faux punks, who like to break into the football stadium at night and hump like bunnies. They aren't the only ones here who get it on, as Feast is far more sexed-up than any recent mainstream movie, with Mitchell in particular and her gorgeous naked body.
As lovely as that sight is, it's also sort of distracting in a film that's otherwise too pleasant and saccharine. All along Harry rattles on about the heart's unknowable chaos, while the storylines get tied into predictable little bows. Screenwriter Allison Bennett has a knack for awkward dialogue, and she and director Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer) are hell-bent on diluting what people loved about the admired cult novel by Charles Baxter moving the setting from Ann Arbor is but one of the crimes here.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].