According To Spencer (2001)
Main cast: Jesse Bradford (Spencer Gold), Mia Kirshner (Melora), David Krumholtz (Ezra), Brad Rowe (Craig), Adam Goldberg (Feldy), Florence Stanley (Grandma), Marissa Ribisi (Wendy), Precious Chong (Lisa), Giovanni Ribisi (Louis), Shane Edelman (Jason), and Meredith Morton (Rona)
Director: Shane Edelman
This quaint romantic comedy is worth watching if only for Jesse Bradford's buoyant, irresistible portrayal of young romantic dreamer Spencer Gold. I don't think this movie even get a theatrical release. I caught in on cable myself.
According To Spencer is the story of Spencer Gold, a young man who decides to live his dreams, look for the future Mrs Gold, and live life to the fullest in LA, where he naively believes that all dreams do come true. Inspired by his late Grandma whom he still speaks to in his mind, he ends up working in the mailroom of an advertizing firm. To his delight, Melora, whom he had a crush on since the age of ten, is also working there. Alas, Melora is blindly devoted to her two-timing boss, Craig. In the meantime, Spencer's two queen-like landlords Ezra and Feldy (who can give Erasure a run for their money) need a lead in their amateur porno flick, and ropes in Spencer with the promise of two months' free stay. (Spencer insists that he will only show his butt - no sex stuff.)
More low-key than I would expect, the porn subplot actually does little except to provide some quiet smiles from the two guys who play Ezra and Feldy. Brad Rowe won't be shrugging off his reputation as a poor man's Brad Pitt with Craig, however, but he does a decent role as a handsome slimeball. Giovanni Ribisi is unrecognizable in his minor role as Spencer's superior, while Florence Stanley's Grandma is memorable as a granny who hasn't lost her sense of humor and cool.
But this is really Bradford's movie. He delivers this movie, sealed and consigned, with his very good portrayal as Spencer Gold. Romantic, idealistic, sweet, and even a little naive, Spencer has me rooting for him because, well, he is just so adorable and romantic. Mia Kirshner does have chemistry with him, but unfortunately Melora is written so poorly that she comes off like an unworthy match for Spencer. Also, Kirshner looks - and is - much older than Bradford, and it really shows. It's hard to believe that these two are only a few months apart in age. Still, Melora does pull herself together by the last scene of the movie, but for so long she is such a neurotic train wreck and what she did to poor Spencer at so many times are really mean and callous. Why does Spencer insist on being so devoted to this mess of a woman? Surely there is someone more worthy of his single-minded devotion?
For a romantic comedy, this one still follows a familiar formula that won't surprise fans of the genre. In fact, According To Spencer will be pretty mediocre if it weren't for Spencer smiling and remaining so obstinately loyal and optimistic in the face of everyone (including Melora) conspiring against him. In fact, I catch myself wondering why I can't meet guys like Spencer Gold when I was younger.
This movie won't be Jesse Bradford's vehicle to superstardom, but watching him in this movie as he single-handedly saves it with his irrepressible screen presence, I wish him good luck in getting there. Anyone who can make cynical old me feel a little wistful about puppy loves and all with his role is definitely alright, and you know what, I think this movie is alright as well.
This TV series at Amazon.com
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