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(DAILY_WILDCAT)

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By Bryna Jacobs
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 4, 1998

No Fooling

How many times can we say we've seen a romantic comedy that remotely parallels reality? This genre of flicks almost always gives the audience what they desire - a fantasy to temporarily block the boredom of life's routines.

We know that by the end of the film, Guy and Girl will either be living together, engaged or married. This "happy ending" scenario sheds no light on where some of us actually live: the real world.

With these thoughts in mind, what could be expected from yet another romantic comedy? Surprisingly enough, "Kissing a Fool" does much more than the formula prescribes.

Whether it's being stereotypical or not, guys are known to have a deep rooted fear of the big "C" - commitment - in relationships.

We've heard the basic puzzling questions: "Can I be with one person for the rest of my life?" or "How can I give up all of the other women out there?".

In this film, David Schwimmer (of "Friends" fame) plays Max Abbit, a TV sportscaster who has charmed just about every female in Chicago. Twice.

Max is your typical rico-suave type guy who spends time with women for the sole purpose of having fun; in other words, no strings attached.

Where Max is a woman's worst nightmare when it comes to a real relationship, however, Jay Murphy, Max's best friend, played by Jason Lee ("Chasing Amy"), is the perfect sensitive and caring guy.

Desperate to tame his wild and carefree best friend, Jay introduces Max to his editor, a woman named Sam, played by Mili Avital ("Stargate"). Max and Sam immediately believe they were meant to be together and are engaged within three weeks. Panic strikes when Max realizes he's committed himself to one woman, till death do they part.

The usual story line for these types of films takes on a peculiar twist when Max pleads with Jay - his best friend, mind you - to test his fianc┌eacute;e for her loyalty. It becomes the guy's quest to discover if the girl can be faithful: would Sam cheat on Max?

While movie audiences are accustomed to films probing the moral/ethical decision men face when committing to a relationship, it's refreshing to find one that considers a female's intentions and motivations.

This film takes the audience into the heart of relationships, what love really means; asking, how do we know that this is the one?

In addition to a unique and engaging plot, "Kissing A Fool" has the rare quality of full character development.

Schwimmer proves that the transition from small to big screen can be a success. He demonstrates surprisingly diverse acting abilities by veering away from his "good guy" character on "Friends," Ross, the refined paleontologist who would do anything to win Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) love. Max cannot do the committed thing, he needs women, all types, as many as possible. It is not often that we discover a film where the leading actor can pull off a believable transformation from his expected persona into someone different.

What really works in this film is the interaction between the three main characters, Max, Jay and Sam. The polar opposite personalities of Schwimmer and Lee's characters contribute to many of the humorous, laugh-out-loud scenes during the film.

As the film progresses, a kind of love triangle emerges; the question of who will win this battle leaves the audience constantly guessing.

"Kissing A Fool" should be applauded for the sense of reality which lays at the core of the story. We can all relate to a situation where best friends, whether it be men or women, fall for the same person. The ultimate question becomes who is more important: the person you are in love with, or your closest friend?

See how this one works out before you decide.


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