"On the line . . . of being wholesome"
(BB, C, Pa, Ho, L, V, S, N, A, M) Moral worldview with protagonist credibly portrayed as a moral character, respectful & respectable, forgiving & restoring; New Age worldview ridiculed in a light & comical way, homosexual theme briefly & comically addressed; 3 obscenities, O profanities, some flatulence humor, & young man squirts mouthwash down his pants & acts like it stung him; brief mild violence such as protagonist knocks a friend out, person hit with a handbag & amplifier falls from stage injuring someone; no sex scenes but brief homosexual references & some lyrics in songs are suggestive, e.g. a reference to “go all night”; no sexual nudity but assumed nudity (upper male only) when character imagines himself naked on stage, plus female cleavage; alcohol use; no smoking; miscellaneous immorality such as coworker betrays hero by taking credit for his ideas on their marketing accounts & hero’s response to the betrayal is forgiveness.
ON THE LINE is the story of a young man who runs into problems searching for a girl he met on the commuter trains in Chicago. Aimed at teenage audiences, ON THE LINE is a relatively clean, entertaining movie about young romance.
Kevin is loyal, hardworking, and responsible. He has strong friendships, a great job at an advertising firm, and a heart of gold. The movie opens with his band playing at a high school party. The girl whom he likes is present and his friends in the band pressure him to dedicate the next song to her. He begins to sweat, the room spins, and he tries to focus on her, but suddenly it feels as if he’s naked on the stage, and everyone is looking and laughing at him. He faints, and the audience is rapidly jettisoned to a bar seven years later where he and his band friends are hanging out. Now, only one of these friends is still making music.
It’s this friend, Rod (played by Joey Fatone), who dedicates a song to Kevin, about all the times Kevin has crashed and burned at making the first move on a girl. Humiliated, Kevin unwinds on the “el” train in Chicago, by listening to the Rev. Al Green. Caught up in the moment, he finds himself singing out loud, despite the headphones, and everyone on the commuter is staring at him. Apologizing, he takes his seat again only to be praised for his choice of musicians by another Al Green fan, the innocently becoming Gabby (Chriqui). After a few moments of conversation with this girl and finding out they have a lot in common, including the same station exit, he is overcome by how much he likes this girl that he forgets to ask her what her name is and if he can have her phone number.
Innocently, he shares about this brief encounter with his former band buddies (now roommates), but they ridicule him for not asking all of the pertinent questions required to make the relationship work. At work the next day, he can’t get her out of his mind. He writes up an “Are You Her?” bulletin, distributing it and displaying it all over Chicago in the hopes of her responding with a phone call. A newspaper reporter latches onto the story and writes up about the innocent “love at first sight.” Every female in the city apparently reads the newspaper, because the next thing Kevin knows, his phone is ringing off the hook, and girls everywhere want to meet this charming young man!
It is at this point that so many become involved in his life (“He was only trying to be transparent, y’all!”) that they take advantage of the poor chap. His boss is demanding of his time and aims to please the clients by exploiting Kevin. His co-worker uses his creative ideas and claims them as her own. His friends start taking his calls for him and setting up dates for themselves (now where is the honor in that?). The news reporter hears wind of this scam and writes up a negative report on Kevin right when Gabby finds out that he’s looking for her. Will this ever work out?
Meeting girls left and right claiming to be “the one” from the “el,” he and his friends meet up with some random characters who are shown in a humorous light: a Goth, a New Age Fundamentalist, etc. At one point, a homosexual guy even responds to Kevin’s bulletin. They hang up on that one really quick.
Eric, Kevin’s best friend, (played by GQ), is the lucky one to meet up with Gabby, but wholly messes things up that one is only left to wonder if this will ever work out for Kevin. At first, Eric covers up the fact that he’s found “the one.” The truth is found out, however, and Kevin punches Eric for not being honest with him. In the end, the friendship is restored because Kevin is a wholesome guy – honest, humble and willing to forgive – even to the point of taking a demotion at work rather than rat on his co-worker for stealing his ideas.
Rated PG, ON THE LINE is more than just entertaining. While some may find it sickeningly sweet, it has the caliber of a good film. No one in this picture will win any secular acting awards but, for once, Hollywood spares viewers from graphic violence, sex, nudity and from a barrage of curse words! Even better, however, is the fact that MIRAMAX, which has a reputation for making some awful movies for teenagers, is responsible for this one, for a change. One “s” word is said, however, in ON THE LINE and there is some brief body humor. Also, one character sings some mildly suggestive lyrics, the worst of which is probably one that makes a reference to “go all night.”
MOVIEGUIDE® therefore recommends a caution for younger children. Teenagers are a more appropriate audience for ON THE LINE.
ON THE LINE is the story of Kevin, played by Lance Bass, known by his friends for being awkward around girls. After a trying day at work, he happens to find a girl (Emmanuelle Chriqui) that he can talk to easily without passing out. He forgets to ask her for her name and telephone number, however. Since he really, really likes her, he is committed to finding her again. Kevin distributes a simple “Are You Her?” bulletin to find the girl. A news reporter writes up the story, and a number of lovelorn girls respond. This causes frustration to Kevin, but a host of dates for Kevin’s opportunistic friends. Young and old, male and female, everyone becomes interested in debating whether it is possible to fall in love at first sight.
With only three obscenities, no sex scenes, no rebellious piercings, no drug abuse, and no parental hatred themes, ON THE LINE is a good movie for teenagers to see. It has a cute story full of good, clean fun. Best of all, the protagonist is a wholesome guy – moral, respectful and respectable, and forgiving. What a refreshing change that is!