Luv is based upon a hit play by Murray Schisgal that, while schematic and occasionally obvious, worked because its blend of black humor and traditional comic stylings was refreshing at the time. Onscreen, it's simply a mess. Elliott Baker has adapted Schisgal very poorly, opening the story up in a trite and wearisome manner by involving a fourth character that was only talked about in the play and by changing locations from the one-set original. The latter is a necessary move for cinema, but it's handled with little imagination here. Director Clive Donner is admittedly hampered by Baker's treatment, but he also shows no real interest or even understanding of the piece; the lack of inspiration in his work is almost stifling. Worse, he mishandles a team of three gifted comic actors, seemingly giving no guidance at all. As a result, many scenes are loud, shrill and annoying, and pacing is frequently labored. No one comes out well in Luv, but each of the three leads has a good moment or two, and there's at least some sort of chemistry between them. Luv was not really a natural for the big screen, but there's no reason that a perfectly acceptable and moderately entertaining film couldn't have been made from the material.
by Craig Butler review