Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Cherish

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2002 at 12:00 AM

There are plenty of lonely people in the world. What's even scarier is a lonely guy sneaking pictures and following a lonely girl for years without her knowing it. What's even scarier than that is a stalker who likes to dance by himself to Hall and Oates.

Zoe (Robin Tunney) is a cute, freckly, inwardly focused outcast who carries an Ally Sheedy-Breakfast Club aura about her, and she has no idea she's a star in someone else's ’80s video fantasies. She's too busy working hard at her computer-animation job to support her new condo that she can't stand staying alone in because the walls start caving in on her; at least that's what she tells her therapist. Zoe battles her empty reality by constantly filling her head with ’80s synth-pop and imagining co-worker Andrew (Jason Priestly) flipping his wet hair and hugging cute dogs in dramatically lit mock videos in her mind.

Due to a mishap with the stalker, all to the tune of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," Zoe is looking at anywhere from 12 months to 25 years in prison. But when fellow imprisoned bruising bull dykes don't take a liking to Zoe, she's placed in a "house arrest" bracelet program for her own protection. She wears an anklet device (like an invisible fence) regulated by nerdy, no-monkey business deputy Bill Daly (Tim Blake Nelson), which sounds an alarm when she goes too far. Now she's really alone, ordering extra food to get Jimmy the grocery boy to come dance with her.

Cherish is the second film written and directed by Finn Taylor (Dream with the Fishes). It starts out promisingly, with interesting camera work and casting choices, like indie singer Liz Phair as Zoe's snotty boss, Brynn, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?'s Delmar (Nelson) as lonely deputy Bill, who obsessively immerses himself in his attractive prisoner.

But there's just not enough of sleazy, Vegas-cool Priestly, an actor gushing with talent, versatility and a great comedic sense. With all the time spent watching stir-crazy manacled Zoe viewing too much TV and listening to too much Human League, you can't help but feel like you're under house arrest too.

Showing exclusively at the Maple Art Theatre (4135 W. Maple, W. of Telegraph). Call 248-542-0180.

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