Cameron Crowe's desultory ensemble romantic comedy is less probing than his best work, but between its appealing twentysomething characters and the film's sweetly whimsical humor, it's difficult to resist. Crowe tracks the unsettled lives of a group of young people looking for love against the backdrop of the then-hot Seattle music scene, and since they all live in the same apartment complex, it's something of a Melrose Place with brains. Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgewick, as a couple who meet in a club, connect, then waffle about their relationship while remaining absorbed with their careers, get the most screen time, but their friend's (Bridget Fonda) infatuation with a hilariously obtuse aspiring rock star (Matt Dillon) yields the film's funniest scenes and truest take on the serpentine course of love. By using an episodic, jokey structure, complete with blackouts, Crowe keeps a cool distance from anything potentially painful in the material, emphasizing the open-endedness of youthful romance. The film acutely targets the self-absorption of the two men, but seems a little too amused by the vulnerability of Fonda and Sheila Kelley as they contemplate makeover strategies in the quest for love. If by the end, Crowe seems to have had less on his mind than usual, he leaves one with a palpable sense of well-being for having spent time with these characters.
by Michael Costello review