It's funny how being part of a blockbuster film can suddenly make you a hot property. So hot that a film you made four years ago, and that has been sitting on the shelf, gets dusted off and rolled out in the hope of cashing in on your sudden popularity.
Take this handsome young fellow named Chris Pine. You may recall that Pine starred as James T Kirk in this year's box-office smash Star Trek. Until then, Pine hadn't really done anything of note - guest starring in some TV shows (such as ER, CSI and Six Feet Under), and the odd little B-grader film such as The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and Just My Luck. And then there's Blind Dating (aka Blind Guy Dating, in the US) which was made back in 2005 and rolled out at the occasional film festival (Stoneybrook, Santa Barbara and Phoenix), given the odd DVD release (Greece, Finland and Argentina) and a couple of auspicious TV premieres (Hungary and Bulgaria). But now that Pine's star (trek) is on the ascent, this little nugget of joy has won itself a quick UK big-screen outing ahead of a DVD release in a couple of weeks.
It's a romantic comedy about a blind man searhcing for love. Pine plays Danny, who has been blind all his life after being born three-months premature. Now a grown man, he still lives with his family, who do all they can to protect him. But Danny doesn't want protection - he wants to be as independent as he possibly can be, going so far as eschewing the use of a cane or a seeing-eye dog. He's also a virgin. And as his brother Larry (American Pie's Thomas) keeps telling him: "At your age it's not natural, man - you could start to build up all kinds of pressure, and let's not forget about your prostate." So Larry sets Danny up on a blind date (and yes, they do make the joke about a blind man on a blind date - how could they let that one pass by?) but it goes a bit wrong. As does the next one. And the one after that ... are we detecting a pattern here?
But this being a rom-com, Danny has to get it on with someone. And so he does - the girl on the reception desk at a doctor's office (Danny is in line for an experimental new procedure that could possibly make him see). But things don't go smoothly at first. In true rom-com tradition, the girl, Leeza (Jay), doesn't exactly take a shine to our hero. Leeza is similar to Danny in many ways: she's of Indian ethnicity, and is trying to gain independence from her family (who have arranged a marriage for her). So eventually she and Danny fall in love, of course; but as you'd expect, things don't go smoothly.
Pine is an affable actor - not brilliant, but not awful (which is why he was the perfect choice for playing the new Kirk in Star Trek). He's well cast here, and he gives it his all, but the film itself lets him down a little. It's a bit of a mess - it starts off as a slightly ribald gross-out comedy, but then seques into a romantic drama - especialy when Danny undergoes the surgery to make him see. The script is pedestrian, and holds no real surprises. Director Keach has spent much of his career making TV, and it shows. There are a few decent moents, and the occasional laugh, but they're too few and far between - on the whole, it never really gels. And there are some moments when the film wallows in some sexism and racism. And blindism, if there's such a thing. It's an interesting idea for a film, but far too poorly executed.