(1995)3Karl WilliamsWhen dealing with psychological disorders in film, it's a fine line indeed between whimsical and preposterous. Think how absurd a film like Rain Man (1988) could have been in less capable hands (think too hard on it and you'll probably end up with something that looks a whole lot like 1999's double-serving of cinematic cheese, Molly and The Other Sister). Screenwriter and sometime-director Jeremy Leven has a particular problem with recognizing the border between the engagingly offbeat and the fatuous, as his scripts for Creator (1985) and The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) clearly demonstrate, seesawing wildly as they do from one tone to another, frustrating in their sheer first-draftness. Leven's directorial debut Don Juan DeMarco (1995) is not enough of an exception, but the comedy-drama admirably generates enough charm to make a convincing argument that the writer/director should get behind the camera for more of his own scripts. Many of the film's plot developments are as patently balmy as its central character, but leads Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando seem to be having such a good time that one would have to be a major sourpuss to care. Pacing, music, Depp's vanity, the oddball flirtations between Brando and Faye Dunaway (as his perplexed but delighted wife), and especially the writer/director's central assertion that nothing is more flat-out nuts than love, all combine to make an entertaining diversion aimed squarely at the non-cynic. Leven's film is told with such peppery gusto that it ends up being the artistic equivalent of the family black sheep: a bit of a pill, a tax upon one's intellectual patience at times, but ultimately too truthful and too much jovial fun to dislike.