I Love Us

What’s not to love?

(2021) Crime (Vision) Katie Cassidy, Danny A. Abeckaser, Robert Davi, David James Elliott, Elya Baskin, Jackie Cruz, Greg Finley, Jasper Polish, Harlow Jane, James Madio, Courtney Mazza, Eliad Nachum, Christian George, Ray Bouderau, Diana Madison, George V. Andreakos, Frank Florio, Diana Davis. Directed by Danny A. Abeckaser

 

Love is mysterious. It can begin in the most unlikely of places. It can take us to the most unlikely of places. There is no telling who we’ll fall in love with. Sometimes we fall in love with people we never in a million years imagined that we could.

Career criminal Sammy (Abeckaser) robs jewelry stores. He’s good at it. He works for his father Harvey (Davi) who himself trod on the wrong side of the law before leaving the grunt work to his son. Sammy is paying off a gambling debt to his Uncle Ira (Baskin), a much more successful mobster. Harvey and Sammy dream of a big score that will allow them both to retire, but so far nothing has turned up that’s even remotely a possibility. After another successful but low-yield heist with his partner Richie (Madio), Sammy takes the bus home where he meets single mom Laura (Cassidy). While it would seem that Sammy and Laura at a glance would be totally mismatched, it’s essentially love at first sight.

The two end up getting married, much to the chagrin of Laura’s older daughter Rachel (Polish) who makes no secret of her disdain for Sammy, and the delight of her younger daughter Audrey (Jane). And for awhile, things seem to be going the way Sammy hoped, although he studiously keeps his real profession a secret from his new family. Then, the opportunity he and Harvey have been waiting for arrives, but it will take planning and efficiency to pull off. However, Sammy is hit by an unforeseen tragedy that changes his outlook on everything, and the crew that are planning the heist may not be as trustworthy as Sammy thought.

This is a combination of a family drama and a heist flick, and I would love to say that Abeckaser works the two together seamlessly, but I can’t. The two plotlines often work at cross-purposes and it doesn’t help that many of the plot points feel arbitrary and somewhat cliché, which is never a good feeling for a movie that is certainly trying to stand out as being unique. There are also an awful lot of moments that can only be classified as maudlin and manipulative, and they do leave you wanting to turn off the movie and move on to other things.

But you have to hand it to Abeckaser for pouring on the Brooklyn charm here; that particular borough of New York always has come off with a certain kind of magic and it’s very much in evidence here. Cassidy, best known as Laurel Lance/Black Canary in the CW comic book-based series Arrow (and perhaps less so for being the daughter of former pop star David Cassidy of the Partridge Family) is extremely memorable in her role here; her screen time may be too brief of necessity, but she does leave you wishing that there were more scenes with her in them. Abeckaser isn’t bad in the lead, but he isn’t as striking.

I do wish the film had taken a few more chances with the script; at times it felt like there was a bit too much plot. More simplicity would have suited the story better and the elimination of some sub-plots might well have made this a better film.

REASONS TO SEE: Oozing with Brooklyn charm.
REASONS TO AVOID: Contrived and maudlin.
FAMILY VALUES: There is some profanity and adult themes.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Abeckaser and Elliiott previously appeared together in Lansky.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 9/15/21: Rotten Tomatoes: No score yet; Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: They/Them/Us
FINAL RATING: 5/10
NEXT:
Eating Our Way to Extinction

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