Anything But Love: An Homage to theGolden Era of 1950s Technicolor Musicals

ANYTHING BUT LOVE, which celebrates the style and sensibility of the 50's Technicolor musicals, tells a contemporary love story of a young woman choosing between the life she wants and the dreams she can't live without.

The film stars ISABEL ROSE as Billie Golden, a woman infatuated with the glamour of an era long past. Dressed to the nines in the look of Hepburn and Hayworth, Billie envisions herself singing in plush nightclubs amidst velvet curtains and the sparkle of champagne. After a series of setbacks, she runs into high school heartthrob, Greg Ellenbogen (CAMERON BANCROFT), who quickly sweeps her off her feet. But when she meets a jaded pianist, Elliot Shepard (ANDREW MCCARTHY), she finds herself caught between competing dreams, a dilemma only EARTHA KITT can solve.

Anything But Lovepays homage to the type of movie that was a staple of the American moviegoers diet in the 40’s and 50’s. Shot in an approximation of Technicolor, and employing many of the techniques made popular by such legendary filmmakers as Vincent Minnelli and Arthur Freed, Anything But Love recollects those films while presenting an original story set in contemporary Manhattan. If you are familiar with BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, FUNNY FACE, BAND WAGON or PILLOW TALK, you are in for a real treat. While not a satire, ANYTHING is certainly an experience in nostalgia, not only for the good old days of cinema but also for a time when glamour was everything and the spotlights shined on beautiful men and women and when the world danced.   

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A corporate lawyer is caught in a love triangle with an ambitious cabaret singer.

Rating: PG13 (for some language and innuendo)
Genre: Comedy , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By: Robert Cary
Written By: Isabel Rose , Robert Cary
In Theaters: Oct 10, 2002 Wide
On DVD: Dec 14, 2004
Runtime: 99 minutes

Synopsis

Billie Golden (Rose) is a struggling cabaret singer with a vivid imagination. Dressed like Audrey Hepburn or Rita Hayworth, she nostalgically envisions a lush life spent singing in glamorous nightclubs amidst the glows of velvet and the sparkle of champagne. Unfortunately, her fantasies are constantly shattered by the reality of the third rate lounge where she performs, a widowed, alcoholic mother (Korey), and a tattered life in a dilapidated row house in Queens. In the midst of her confusion, torn between her dreams and reality, Greg Ellenbogen (Bancroft), an old high school heartthrob who is now a successful corporate lawyer, comes back into her life and offers her almost everything she could ever desire. But when she meets Elliot (McCarthy), an arrogant, bohemian musician, she if forced to choose between luxuries Greg can give her and the one thing he can't: a life filled with music. "Anything But Love" is the story of a woman looking for the place where dreams and reality intersect, if such a place exists at all.​

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Rotten Tomato Reviews

 

TomatoMeter  Critics 37% | Audience 71%

An appealing, low-budget musical co-written by and starring Isabel Rose as Billie, whose pluck and talent are tonic -- if as shopworn as her thrift-store threads. December 11, 2003
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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Ends up little more than a vanity piece for Rose and an exercise in style over substance for Cary.
December 4, 2003
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

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To borrow a word from another American standard, Anything but Love, is hardly unforgettable. But if you're looking for the movie equivalent of comfort food, then there's something to dig into here.
November 21, 2003
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
Top Critic
Anything But Love
Genre: Romance, Musical; Starring: Eartha Kitt, Andrew McCarthy, Isabel Rose; Director: Robert Cary; Author: Robert Cary, Isabel Rose; Release Date Wide: 11/14/2003; Runtime (in minutes): 102; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Posted November 19 2003 — 12:00 AM EST
Billie Golden (Isabel Rose), the old-fashioned, redheaded heroine in the modern-day romantic trifle Anything but Love, tunes out her drab life as a Queens waitress who lives at home with her widowed alcoholic mother while singing cabaret standards at a dinky local boîte. In her head, Billie is Audrey Hepburn in ”Breakfast at Tiffany”’s, or maybe Rita Hayworth in ”Gilda.” But when Billie sings – dressed to the movie-swanky, Technicolor hilt in satiny gowns and nightclub glitter – her voice is thin and demure, her glamour synthetic and posed rather than innate.

The frustration of this good-hearted, off-key warble of an indie, written by Rose with Robert Cary, who directed, is that the filmmaking pales when compared with the classic elements of 1950s and early ’60s romantic musicals to which it pays homage. Billie’s dilemma: Should she commit to the handsome, tone-deaf corporate lawyer (Cameron Bancroft) who offers her conventional security, or to the broody musician (Andrew McCarthy) who hears her tune and has a greater tolerance for her kooky wardrobe? Eartha Kitt appears as herself, offering advice, only to squander her chanteuse cred at an amateur’s cabaret.

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[An] ungainly little movie.
November 21, 2003
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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Filmed in the colors of newborn Technicolor, plotted as a tribute to the conventions of Hollywood romance, filled with standard songs, it's by and for people who love those kinds of movies.
November 21, 2003
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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The earnest, low-budget indie Anything But Love isn't quite the movie you'd like it to be, but it provides some kicks, nonetheless.
November 20, 200
Ellen Fox
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
The filmmaking pales when compared with the classic elements of 1950s and early '60s romantic musicals to which it

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Anything but unpredictable, but it is a pleasant, good-natured picture that struggles, gallantly if vainly, to recapture the style and sensibility of a studio musical on the severely limited budget of an independent film.
Full Review

Dave Kehr
New York Times

Top Critic
FILM IN REVIEW; 'Anything but Love'
By DAVE KEHR
Published: November 14, 2003
Directed by Robert Cary
PG-13, 99 minutes
Billie Golden, as played by the statuesque redhead Isabel Rose in ''Anything but Love,'' dreams of becoming a sultry nightclub singer like the character portrayed by Rita Hayworth -- Billie's absolute idol -- in Charles Vidor's classic film noir ''Gilda'' (1946).

Unfortunately, Billie lives in the not-so-classic Queens of 2001 (the World Trade Center is still standing across the river), where she performs for an older crowd in a broken-down bar. When an old high school flame, Greg Ellenbogen (Cameron Bancroft), resurfaces in her life, she is thrilled at first: now a successful corporate lawyer, Greg offers to take her away from all this and install her as a trophy wife in a Westchester suburb.

But Billie is not sure she wants to be rescued, particularly when she starts to fall in love with Elliot Shepard (Andrew McCarthy), the brilliant but temperamental musician who gives her piano lessons.

Does Billie follow her heart and pursue her dream, or does she settle for a country club membership and a manicured front lawn?

''Anything but Love,'' written by Ms. Rose and Robert Cary and directed by Mr. Cary, is anything but unpredictable, but it is a pleasant, good-natured picture that struggles, gallantly if vainly, to recapture the style and sensibility of a studio musical on the severely limited budget of an independent film.

In practice, that means the big fantasy musical number involves a grand total of three dancers performing before a minimal backdrop. But Ms. Rose can indeed sing, and her cabaret-style renditions of the standards -- including the title song, ''I Can't Give You Anything but Love'' -- have an appealing warmth and sincerity.

Ms. Rose is essentially the entire show, receiving minimal support from Mr. McCarthy (whose only expressive gesture consists of vigorously scratching his head, as if in search of ticks) and even less from Mr. Bancroft, a granite-featured soap opera veteran locked into a one-dimensional role. Eartha Kitt turns up as herself in this film, which opens today in New York and Los Angeles, just in time to dispense some crucial advice to Billie: go for it, girl.

''Anything but Love'' is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) for some mild vulgarity and sexual innuendo. DAVE KEHR

 

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