It would be easy to pillory Mark S. Waters for selling out to Hollywood so quickly after the success of his quirky indie debut The House of Yes. Yet the sophomore director enlivens what could have been a by-the-books romantic comedy with flashes of style, wit, and self-mocking humor. Freddie Prinze Jr., who turned in his most accomplished work to date in Yes, here simply coasts on his charm, his puppy-dog eyes, and his washboard abs. But the likable Monica Potter, with her gawky beauty and husky Julia Roberts voice, turns in an appealing lead performance as the odd girl out in a flat full of models. With a gift for looking gorgeous while simultaneously exuding equal amounts of insecurity and warmth, Potter could quickly become a tiresome America's sweetheart like Meg Ryan; this early in her career, though, such vulnerability and likability are, well, likable. Meanwhile, the models themselves get to have fun poking holes in fashion-world clichés, especially real-life model Ivana Milicevic, who embodies the epitome of Eastern European glamour. Many hands were involved in the screenplay, including There's Something About Mary scribes Ed Decter and John J. Strauss. Yet the result has enough in common with classical farce that it's easy to overlook the many implausibilities in the plot (such as Potter's art-restorer character adding Prinze's visage to a damaged Renaissance painting). In all respects Head Over Heels is a low-cal trifle, but it's just about gleeful enough to pull us along.
by Brian J. Dillard review