"Home Fries" Review
© 1998 Fontaine L.
- spoilers -

I'll admit that what made me go see "Home Fries," an eccentric romantic comedy that looked suspiciously like the gazillions of other eccentric romantic comedies that have come out in the past five years, was the name Vince Gilligan. The man behind many of the greatest X-Files episodes, a man known for his knack at combining humour with great dialogue and in-depth looks at the Mulder/Scully relationship. Quite honestly, after viewing "Home Fries," I felt that the film was suspiciously like the gazillions of other eccentric romantic comedies that have come out in the past five years. Suffice to say that I was disappointed, but not really. For what did I expect of Vince? He got his start in 45 minute episodic television. In retrospect, this episode was exactly like some of the episodes he's written: crazy, romantic, eery, right down to the goofball murders and wacky townsfolk. If I had looked really closely, I might have seen some of the genius Vince has in writing about the sincere and the genuine, the Southern Boy that he is. Or it might just be a figment of my biased imagination.

As much as I appreciate the morbid sense of humor the film has, there's something that just feels not quite right about things. Am I too conservative, or does the romance between Dorian (Luke Wilson aka Sheriff "Bad Blood") and Sally (Drew Barrymore) seem utterly contrived and unconvincing? Granted that it's a wacky world, but the way the script was written it seems that those two fell in love because of a La Maz class. Not that I don't believe in rapidly developing romance, but not under these circumstances, which are a little TOO morbid. They're asking us to suspend all sympathy we might have for a human being, and they want us to believe in the "long shot romance." I wish I had seen enough movies or remembered as much so that I might cite a movie as a counter-reference. You never quite understand what the deal is with Dorian's dysfunctional family, except that they're murderous and simple-minded. Hilarity ensues, romance develops, Sally and Dorian live happily ever after. Shot of cute baby. Awww. Add some moody songs and Addams Family-ish score and you get your average ERC (Eccentric Romantic Comedy). Drew Barrymore is charming as Sally, if only because Sally is simple, down-to-earth, not that hard to portray if you have a smile as innocent and sweet as Drew's. The same goes for Luke Wilson, whose job is to look like the nice and sweet Southern Boy that he is. An admirable, entertaining effort by Vince Gilligan (and the other folks -- yes, I know other people made this movie too), but one that looks suspiciously like your run-of-the-mill... well, you get the gist.

Rating: C+ (First viewing, 11/28/98)