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Movie Review: ‘Barefoot’ Starts With Potential, But Falls Completely Flat

For those of you who enjoyed the film Mad Love (1995) with Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell, don’t get your hopes with this dull knock-off.

Barefoot begins like any classic romantic comedy.  The reckless womanizer, Jay (Scott Speedman) tries to sneak off in the morning to avoid having to buy breakfast for the girl he just slept with.  You know these guys;  they just won’t “ever” commit!  But things take a more dramatic turn when Jay’s real problems get out of hand.   He owes a huge gambling debt to some dangerous men.  Luckily for Jay, his brother is getting married.  This means Jay can have the perfect opportunity to ask his rich parents for money, in the most subtle way possible of course.  Only one problem, his family thinks he has an incredible girlfriend that’s a nurse.  After being rejected many times, Jay meets Daisy (Evan Rachel Wood), a mental patient at the hospital where he works as a janitor.  After a series of events, Jay takes Daisy as his girlfriend for the weekend; only causing more issues for the two further down the road.

I was just so disappointed in this film.  I guess I shouldn’t have expected much, given the title.  By the way, the reason the film is called “Barefoot” is because Daisy hates wearing shoes.  They hurt her feet.  But even if you put that fact aside, this film was just a sloppy mess.  All the problems presented in the film get bounced around.  When they are eventually addressed, they are resolved in a half-ass manner.

Sadly enough, what made this film lose all hope was the complete lack of chemistry between Speedman and Wood.  I mean it’s a love story!  Were the casting directors present during the two’s audition?  I can deal with the ridiculous thought of a playboy changing his ways for a nut job, but I can’t believe he would fall for that nut job when it is apparent that their relationship comes off sibling like.  The character Daisy has to be one of the most annoying female love interests I’ve seen in a long time.  The worst part is the moments she’s meant to be funny, come off random and awkward.  There is not one part in this film where they have a true connection, or pull off a believable romance.  Their relationship is so forced.  Honestly, because I felt more like she was his annoying little sister, it was also creepy.

I love both Speedman and Wood as actors, but clearly not together.  And I know they have managed some great romantic chemistry with a variety of other actors.  The saving grace in this film was the refreshing performance by Treat Williams (Everwood) who plays Jay’s father, and is the only sensible person.

If this movie had provided a passionate love story of two lost souls, completely different and desperate to find one another, the rest of the film would have been tolerable.  Take Mad Love for example.  They addressed the issues of a serious mental condition and included a raw romance that you ached for while watching. Barefoot, unfortunately, missed that mark.

Barefoot opens in select theaters February 21.

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