Arts: NSync pretty boys flub romance flick

On The Line’s feeble attempt at feel-good romance is enough to leave audiences longing for a refund of their time and money. Ten-year-old girls holding free movie tickets might be into the film, but everyone else should steer clear of this unabashed vehicle to promote ‘NSync’s Lance Bass and Joey Fatone.

On The Line (Miramax) is an insipid love story about two 20-something strangers who meet while riding the “El” in Chicago. Kevin (Bass), a shy marketing executive working on Reebok’s new pre-teen shoe campaign, manages to attract the attention and affection of fellow commuter Abby (Emmanuelle Chirqui), who is visiting Chicago to take a break from a three-year relationship.

Kevin and Abby have a short and meaningless conversation, as strangers often do, and then, without warning, fall totally in love. So surprising is this romance, even to the young lovers involved, Kevin forgets to get the mystery girl’s phone number or even her name and spends the rest of the movie searching all of Chicago to find her. He is helped and hindered in his search by his three high school chums, including Fatone’s character.

There are some surprising cameo appearances in On The Line, including WWF’s Chyna and Jerry Stiller from “Seinfeld,” that manage to buoy the movie. Just when you start to nod off, you are momentarily roused by the appearance of a recognizable celebrity.

But cameos alone just are not enough to save the film from its weak story line. Even more painful are the shameless plugs for various products such as Pepsi, Verizon, Reebok and, of course, MTV.

Bass and Fatone should stick to the world of pop music – crossing over just is not possible for these teen idols. When the two actors flub their lines the camera keeps rolling, only because by that point the audience will probably be numb enough not to notice the actors’ frequent mistakes.

The only actor whose performance is worth praise is Chirqui (100 Girls) who shines amid a bleak storm of miserable acting.

The one redeeming quality of On The Line is students who have to leave the theater to answer a phone call won’t miss anything. Like a made-for-TV movie, the simplicity of the plot makes it impossible to get lost.

On the Line is in theatres Friday.

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