Shitfest 2014: Winter: On The Line (2001)
Happy Valentines Day everyone! You’d better bust out the popcorn, chocolate covered strawberries, and a fine sparkling red wine, because boy do I have an excellently shitty Shitfest: Valentines Day Edition film for you to watch on this night of nights. When I learned that two members of the band N*Sync starred in the same film, and it’s from the early 2000s, and it’s a romantic comedy, the first thing that popped into my head was, “Why didn’t this film win any awards?”. And also, “Bye bye bye”.
On The Line (2001) stars Lance Bass and Joey Fatone of N*Sync, and Emmanuelle Chriqui, whom you might remember from 2008’s unforgettable masterpiece You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. The film sets up Lance Bass’s character Kevin as someone who’s anxious around women after a horrible embarrassment he experienced whilst performing in a band during college. It was like totally embarrassing, and now he totally can’t seal the deal with any girls. And that is, like, not cool. Later in life, Kevin meets a cute girl on the train and they bond over common interests, but unfortunately he’s too ~totes awkward~ to ask for her name or number. So, he has to put up signs on the street and adverts in the newspaper to try and find his soulmate. Will he find her? Let’s find out!
On The Line is set in Chicago, and we know this because the first scene contains a massive sign that says, “CHICAGO”. That’s the level of subtlety we’re dealing with here. The acting is not good. Lance Bass’ performance is a mix between painfully shy and incredibly confused. Joey Fatone is so exuberant and well-meaning in his inept acting skills that it’s almost forgivable until you get to the fart jokes. The plot is ridiculous and feels like the concept for a music video that’s been stretched out to 1.5 hours of pure awkwardness.
The poster has a quote that basically says, “At least the music is kind of alright”. But it isn’t. I counted a minimum of four forgettable N*Sync songs. The score consists of either early 2000s techno monstrosities, or music that seems straight out of a Disney movie. Not a good Disney movie, a Disney Channel Original movie. Or from one of the Home Alone films. Maybe Home Alone 4.
Here’s a selection of dialogue from when our star-crossed lovers meet on the train:
Kevin: Tell me something you would only tell a stranger.
Mystery Woman: I like to make paper planes. My dad’s a pilot.
I’m not sure if On The Line can be counted as a romantic comedy, even though it’s listed as one everywhere on the internet. The comedy consists of farts and other cheesy sound effects (they actually played cricket noises over an awkward moment), and the romance is pretty much non-existent since the two lead characters have a total of two scenes together and their chemistry is severely lacking. Unless you count a polite conversation where you happen to have the same musical tastes and can name all the U.S. presidents as romantic chemistry. I like to imagine a sequel to this film where the two characters get to know each other beyond a five-minute train conversation and find out that they have some serious incompatibilities. Maybe one of them thinks women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, or, one of them is a massive racist. Then they have to say goodbye and they never see each other again.
Sometimes I write notes during films so that I can remember really good/bad/awkward things to elaborate when reviewing them. This was one of the notes I wrote down and I can’t figure out what it says.
“Breakdancing in abide?” Anyway, can one of you please watch this film and then figure out what that note means? It pretty much sums up my feelings towards this film though. It’s not funny, it’s kind of boring, there’s nothing good about it. “Breakdancing in abide”, indeed.
My final note: Anyone who intentionally keeps their bag or suitcase on a seat on public transport during peak hour is a legitimate asshole. Ladies, gentlemen, don’t give your name or number to these people. They shouldn’t be allowed to procreate.
Happy Valentines Day!
Watch the trailer here.