Forever Mine (1999)
Main cast: Joseph Fiennes (Alan Ripley/Manuel Esquema), Ray Liotta (Mark Brice), Gretchen Mol (Ella Brice), Vincent Laresca (Javier), and Myk Watford (Rick Martino)
Director: Paul Schrader

Forever Mine is a low-budgeted indie movie that never made it to the big screen and premiered on a Brit cable network instead. Poor thing. I would've given this a pass while accompanying hubby on his weekly video rental spree, if the name Joseph Fiennes, yummy thespian in Shakespeare In Love, didn't catch my eye. FM aims to some sort of modern retelling of The Count Of Monte Cristo meets Madame Bovary, but the main casts' lousy acting and some really cringe-inducing mawkish dialogues make this movie an overwrought, silly affair.

Alan was a young cabana boy in a luxurious Miami hotel during 1973 when he met the Brices. He fell in love with Ella when she walks out of the water obviously feeling very cold and perky, if you know what I mean, and quickly persuaded her to sleep with him. Lots of delightful nudity ensues - he looks a bit too thin and scrawny though. However, Ella returns to her husband, and he pursues her, using really horribly corny lines like "You have never been loved until now" (and this coming from a fan of corny romantic movies!). Hubby Mark, who has ties with the mob, caught wind of this upstart's attempt to sniff at his wife's hindquarters and had him killed. Or so he thought.

1984. Surprise, Alan isn't dead. He's now "Manuel Esquema", professional banker who would help you clear those embarrassing extra funds in your bank account when the IRS sniffs too close for comfort. Mark Brice requests Esquema's help, and Esquema, disfigured and unrecognizable as Alan (at least to Ella and Mark), proceeds to wreck havoc.

Gretchen Mol plays the supposedly irresistible and tragic Ella like a lifeless doll mannequin. She's flat and unconvincing as a long-suffering wife trapped in an unhappy marriage, and her attempt to portray herself as a modern-day Madame Bovary is hilariously off-key. Joe Fiennes look gorgeously chiseled, but his Latin accent is horrendous and more often than not indecipherable. And Mark, supposed to be a dangerous man - hahaha.

The inherent romanticism of the story is intriguing - a man who crosses the world to pursue his loved one, oh my - but the movie really never succeeds in showing me just how grand this love exactly is. All I get is a boring girl and a whiny boy sprouting godawfully corny poetry bopping naked in bed. Is that love? Don't make me snort.

Forever Mine is pretty bad and silly. It has its moments, like that gratuitous scene of Joe Fiennes stripping off his pants - WOW! - while changing in a locker room full of guys - WOOOOOO! (For the guys, Mol gets naked a lot too.) But it's overwrought attempt at romanticism more often than not comes off corny and ludicrous.

Rating: 64

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