Today’s romantic comedies may be the most dire product being rolled off American filmmaking assembly lines. Having devolved into rote formula (whether mainstream Hollywood fare, or faux-indie dross), it’s a form that—with rare exception—has collapsed in on itself, being now full of familiar tropes, exhausted rhythms, self-conscious references to genre forebears, and lots of either hip indie music or ironically deployed rap or pop. Language of a Broken Heart, directed by Rocky Powell from a screenplay by Juddy Talt, is pure product. Nick (Talt) is a successful author of books on love and relationships who, ironically (except not), cannot find true love because he loves too hard and is just too damn nice. Every girl or woman he’s ever been attracted to (as we learn in several flashbacks) has cheated on him. Luckily, he’s had his chubby best friend, Cubbie (the Seth Rogen role, played by Ethan Cohn with none of Rogen’s smugness), and his adoring mom (the sublime Julie White, wasted here) along for the bumpy ride. When “free spirit” antiquarian bookseller Emma (Kate French) appears in his life, only the comatose in the crowd will fail to immediately know that she will complete him. And has mention been made yet of Nick’s crude therapist who speaks in hip-hop- inflected lingo? Ye gods.
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