This romantic comedy is a funny spoof of modern romance novels. Under the pen name of Vivica Lamoureaux, Lizzie Potts writes the most popular, seething, romance novels.
As Lizzie tries to compose the opening of her next novel, she worries about her cartoonist brother Gus Kubicek, who has just spent over a year in radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s disease. Lizzie wants Gus to find a girl and start a family, but Gus feels ostracized for his lack of hair, eyebrows and physical condition. Therefore, Gus hides out at the end of a pier in a fishing hut on the outskirts of their hometown of Charleston, S.C. Truthfully, he looks awful.
However, when Emily Pear, a beautiful young reporter, comes to interview Vivica/Lizzy at a romance novel convention (one of the most humorous scenes in film history), Lizzie immediately wants to fix Gus up with Emily. Although Gus has warned Lizzy repeatedly not to meddle in his personal affairs, she nonetheless sets up a blind dinner date for him at her home.
When Gus arrives and sees this beautiful young woman through the window, he turns to run, but circumstances conspire against him and he is forced to sit through the meal. Emily wants nothing to do with this hairless potato head, even though she told Vivica at the convention in a fit of intellectual snobbery as she debunked the romance stereotype that she prefers intelligent, sensitive, caring men to handsome hunks.
Lizzy realizes that Emily was lying — she really wants a hunk. So Lizzy uses makeup, exercise and discipline to make the smitten Gus over into the motorcycle riding Lobo Marroonga, a blond-haired, blue-eyed, Mel Gibson type character from New Zealand — an archetypal romance novel hero. In spite of some humorous near misses with being recognized, Gus plays his part well, and Emily falls in love with Lobo.
Unfortunately, the culmination of all this humor and pathos is the scene where they end up in the sack together (from which the film cuts away before anything happens). The next morning, when Emily finds out that Lobo is Gus, she is furious. However, eventually, all ends well.
Although DON’T TELL HER IT’S ME exhibits a warm heart and wholesome humor, it is marred by pre-marital sex, which is presented as normal and acceptable. Except for an absurd scene with a sex therapist, there is almost no obscene language or lewdness up to the pre-marital sex scene, but, regrettably, that scene destroys the integrity of the movie. This totally unnecessary scene degrades the rest of the movie.
However, the rest of the movie is funny and often reverent. Prayer and love are lifted up. Caring and giving are stressed. Positive values are extolled. The dialogue and the direction are very funny. This is one of the few movies to elicit belly laughs from the reviewers who screened it, in spite of the fact that it was almost devoid of any objectionable language. Of course, like any romance novel, it is fluffy, lightweight and implausible, but these plot devices help the film remain true to its genre. In fact, the film would have reached a better resolution if Gus and Emily had not slept together. Unfortunately, at this point, the filmmaker lost his moral and generic compass and strayed far from true romance which reflects the Love of God.
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