Movie Review: Undecided and on a deadline, “I’m Not In Love”

“I’m Not in Love” is a forlorn, lovelorn and woebegone romantic comedy has little interest in going for laughs, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here, there’s just not enough heart or story to make up the shortfall that the viewer feels, first scene to last.

The director and writers of 2006’s “Someone Else” return to the basic plot of that rom-com — a commitment-phobic guy has his moment of truth — and have no better luck this time round.

Al Weaver of Brit TV’s “Grantchester” and “Press” stars as Rob, a lad with lifelong issues with women, which we’re meant to gather was caused when his Dad left him when he ditched his “unstable” Mum.

“I don’t WANT to stay with Mum.”

“No one does.”

Thirty years later, Rob is three years into a live-in relationship with Marta (Cristina Catalina), unwilling or unable to commit, even though we can see that they have little in common.

She prays before going to sleep. He’s an atheist. She’s 38 and ready for marriage, or at least a baby. He’s not.

“Maybe you’re just a nicer person than me,” London nutritionist Rob speculates.

“That’s what my friends tell me.”

She has her no-nonsense bestie Lena (Sinead Matthews), he has his “mates” — married Tony (John Henshaw) and Sunil (Sunil Patel), neither all that happy, and carefree womanizer Chris (Morgan Watkins). None of them are all that much help, with Chris and Lena filling the bill of “toxic to the relationship” sounding boards.

With Rob mooning over one who got away, and others who Chris tries to set him up with, or much younger women who throw themselves at him, this looks like “hard times for lovers,” as the old song goes.

Co-writers Radha Chakraborty and Col Spector (he also directed it) seem as undecided about Rob as he is about settling down. Is he fundamentally decent, a heel or just “damaged?” Meeting his mother (Tessa Peake-Jones), we’re expected to lean towards the latter. I mean, he’s almost 40 and his self-involved mother refuses to remember or accept his lifelong nut allergy, to the point where she’s literally and thoughtlessly shoving a forkful of Waldorf Salad in his face.

Marta comes off as passive until it’s almost too late for her to speak up for herself.

And chinless, stubble-bearded, wimpy and indecisive Rob having women all but lining up for him is a British twist on the male wish-fulfillment fantasy that has to be seen to be disbelieved.

As undecided as the filmmakers are, Weaver doesn’t do enough to tip the scales towards “Let’s root for this bloke.”

So we’ve left with an indecisive movie about an indecisive leading man, a movie I’ll spare you from by saying decide to skip it. Kind of wish I had.

Rating: unrated, some profanity, sexual situations

Cast: Al Weaver, Cristina Catalina, Morgan Watkins, Tessa Peake-Jones, Sinead Matthews

Credits: Directed by Col Spector, scripted by Radha Chakraborty and Col Spector. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:24

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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