20 Dates: Looking for love in all the wrong places?

What is more familiar to college students than looking for love? 20 Dates (Fox Searchlight) follows Myles Berkowitz (playing himself) in his quest for romance. But his search is more complicated than most.

As he looks for love, he also is trying to make a movie. But there’s more. Myles lacks dating skills and a sense of fashion. And he must deal with his psychotic producer and fend off several law suits that stem from past dates. Still, in the midst of it all, he’s searching for his Cinderella.

Filmed candid-camera style, 20 Dates is a brilliant comedy about one man’s life – a comedy to which many viewers will relate. At first sight, it is a contemporary love story about dating in Los Angeles. However, the story is not formulaic, and as Myles himself points out, it is not about love at all.

What is love? Is there love? According to Robert McKee, a renowned movie critic who appears as himself in the movie, “Women are in love with a nonexistent phantom, and men obsess over physical characteristics, so the possibilities of anyone finding true love are truly small.”

So Myles comes up with a brilliant idea. He decides to kill two birds with one stone by making a documentary about dating in L.A. His clever plan includes him going out on 20 dates and filming them. This way, he will have a movie and find true love.

All Myles has to do is find women to date. Without charisma, fashion sense and an acceptable sense of humor, his task is not easy, but he figures it out eventually: “Volume, volume, volume. It’s basically like a sporting event. You’ve gotta get warmed up or you’ll never be ready for the real thing. Also, shoes. Women are really into a guy’s shoes.”

20 Dates mixes crude reality with parody to create an experimental film. The movie playfully looks at the true state of affairs between single men and women. In its witty portrayal of the difference between the Hollywood-style love seen in movies and the realities of contemporary romance, 20 Dates explores an intriguing and exciting topic.

The audience is Berkowitz. It looks at the world through his eyes, and audience members want him to find his true love. Although the movie pokes fun at Hollywood’s cheesy and predictable romances, even briefly flashing a love scene from Titanic , audience members still relish the happy ending and root for Myles in his quest to live happily ever after.

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