Susan Granger’s review of “All’s Faire in Love” (Hanover House/Patriot Pictures)
Obviously capitalizing on the attention currently being paid to Christina Ricci, who is starring in the new TV series “Pan Am,” this lackluster, low-budget romantic comedy reveals the backstage merry-making of various performers at a summer Renaissance Faire.
The story begins as a star college football quarterback, Will (Owen Benjamin), is dispatched by irate Professor Shockworthy (Cedric the Entertainer) to join the ragtag Greenbriar Theater Troupe at Ye Olde Times Renaissance Pleasure Faire to work off his non-attendance in Renaissance Lit class. There he finds perky, free-spirited Kate (Christina Ricci), who has impulsively fled the world of investment banking and a potential job on Wall Street to join her cousin Jo (Louise Griffiths) and indulge her dreams of being an actress in the theater – albeit for three weeks.
While Ann-Margret rules as Mrs. Banks, a.k.a. the Queen, the climax revolves around a hammy, treachery-laden competition to determine who will be a “Royal” and who will be relegated to a “Common Peasant.” At stake is the Troupe’s survival on the Shakespearean stage against the competitive Troupe of Royals led by uber-villainous Prince Rank (Chris Wylde).
Co-written by director Scott Marshall (son of Garry of “Pretty Woman” fame), R.A. White and Jeffrey Ray Wine, it’s filled with hackneyed caricatures, instead of characters, and the formulaic plot is not only transparent from the getgo but also not the least bit funny, despite the best efforts of Matthew Lillard, as Rusty Crockett, Will’s mentor, and Dave Sheridan as Roy, the court jester with a hand-puppet named Horny the Unicorn.
FYI: Off-screen Owen Benjamin was briefly engaged to Christina Ricci from March to June of 2009, the same year the film was made – in and around Flint, Michigan. And would you believe this pairing of the characters named Will and Kate was written and filmed back then – before Britain’s Prince William had proposed to then-commoner Kate Middleton?
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “All Faire in Love” is a cheeky, underwhelming 3, quickly to be filed under ‘forgettable films.’