September 6, 2002
Ruedi Gerber makes his feature-film debut directing this comedy about the world of daytime dramas, also known as soap operas. The film's screenplay was co-written by Gerber and Henry Slesar. The movie is based on Slesar's novel Murder at Heartbreak Hospital.
The story is similar to other movies about soap operas and their fans, such as Nurse Betty and Soapdish. In this particular tale, an aspiring actress named Neely Kendall (Chelsea Altman) lands the role of a coma patient on the popular show Heartbreak Hospital (what else?). Her budding career is launched with this role and it creates tensions with her boyfriend, the famous Italian chef Tonio Martinez (Demian Bichir). He recently tried to start a line of pasta sauces, but the endeavor failed.
Other complications turn up in the form of the soap's leading man, Milo Derringer (John Shea), the show's leading lady, Sunday Tyler (Diane Venora), and a dangerously obsessed fan of the show. Will Neely and Tonio's relationship be able to weather these storms that her newfound fame has brought?
Reviews of this film have been mostly negative. They have been concerned about the unevenness and weakness of the script. But as I always say, go see the film and make up your own mind. You may be pleasantly surprised. (Marty Doskins/BOP)