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  Three of Hearts Triple Treat
Year: 1993
Director: Yurek Bogayevicz
Stars: William Baldwin, Kelly Lynch, Sherilyn Fenn, Joe Pantoliano, Gail Strickland, Cec Verrell, Claire Callaway, Marek Johnson, Monique Mannen, Timothy Stickney, Frank Ray Perilli, Tony Amendola, Keith MacKechnie, Ann Ryerson, Lin Shaye, Tawny Kitaen
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Joe Casella (William Baldwin) is a male escort with a sideline in a phone sex service for any ladies who may be interested, and willing to pay, all orchestrated by his friend Mickey (Joe Pantoliano) who offers a sex line to the male customers as well, based in his office and making him a small fortune. Joe doesn't know it, but he's about to intrude on the relationship between girlfriends Connie Czapski (Kelly Lynch) and Ellen Armstrong (Sherilyn Fenn), or should we say ex-girlfriends, since Ellen has just broken it off with a most upset Connie, in a public park as well. Connie is determined to win her back, but she is adamant that it's all over, leaving Connie to ponder her next move. She needs a partner for an upcoming wedding she's been invited to, for a start...

Director Yurek Bogayevicz had made some impression with his previous film Anna, garnering Sally Kirkland an Oscar nomination for her strong lead performance that bared her soul (and the rest of her), yet belatedly when it came to following up that success, the filmmaker fumbled badly with a work that had no such courage of its convictions, and appeared to have been a daring examination of a three way relationship between two lesbians and the bloke caught in the middle which in the process of its making was watered down significantly into a variation on the positively ancient plot, "You went out with me for a bet? How dare you!" It wasn't exactly a bet this time around, but Joe was paid, and offence was taken, and love was spawned.

And spurned, for that matter, as Connie hires Joe to be her partner for the wedding, and they have a great time, not that they fall for one another but she does have an idea that could get Ellen back. Since her ex is bisexual, hence eliminating any need for the film to get too deep into the politics of a gay relationship which would turn a potential audience off, Ellen will be attracted by this gigolo and when he dumps her she will run back into the arms of Connie. Or that's the idea, but for that to happen the film would be seen to be endorsing an alternative lifestyle, and it's far too chicken for that, so as Joe enrols in lecturer Ellen's classes - Fenn a most unconvincing expert on literature, never mind a tutor - he makes his presence felt and before you know it she's unprofessionally dating a student.

As all this was going on, the plot had to come up with an excuse to keep Connie around, so contrives a gangster (Tony Amendola) who really has it in for Joe and smashes up his apartment to tell him so, thereby sending him a message as a bit of plot foreshadowing for the dramatic climax, a burst of brutal violence which looks to have blundered in from another movie entirely and presumably is intended as an extremely conservative punishment for Joe, the two other ladies having been punished emotionally rather than physically. His home trashed, Connie is good enough to invite Joe to live with her for a while, and they become roommates, getting along famously as he goes out to woo Ellen and reports back on his return while Connie sits watching old home videos and cries.

There was one aspect that may not have been intentional, but rings loud and clear watching this lovelorn trio: romance, according to this, truly makes you a pathetic creature prostrating yourself before someone who may not be all that interested in you, and the knots they tie themselves in to sustain a bond that may well be undone do not exactly give one cheer, for them or for you. A sorrier threesome you rarely saw, making each other miserable, putting themselves through needless stress and subterfuge and there wasn't even an actual threesome, with the sole (straight) sex scene a novelty as you have to assume both participants keep their clothes on since Bogayevicz shoots their sequence from their necks up, suggesting he really did not understand the appeal Fenn's fanbase saw in her. Without a decent reason for us to be interested, and a lack of jokes that made you laugh (always a drawback in a comedy), Three of Hearts was only good for actor fanciers as it was utterly lacking in bite otherwise. Music by Joe Jackson (which goes really weird in places).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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