To be head over heels is to be in a state of helplessness. Thus, Head Over Heels is an apt title for director Mark Waters’ latest endeavor, a film which, over the course of its ninety-plus minutes, mercilessly throws its audience into such a state.
Amanda Pierce (Monica Potter), an art restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is in need of a new apartment following her latest break-up. She finds a spare room (i.e. closet) in an opulent abode already inhabited by up-and-coming models Holly (Tomiko Fraser), Roxana (Ivana Milicevic), Candi (Sarah O’Hare), and Jade (Shalom Harlow). She also finds Jim Winston (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), a modeling executive, with whom she soon falls “head over heels” in love. Jim seems to be perfect, until Amanda thinks she sees him commit murder. From here until the end of the movie, the bland plot details the many expected misunderstandings keeping Amanda from the ultimate truth about her new beau (which is itself unexpected). It steadily rolls downhill until it just crashes to the ground, albeit with a trite happy ending.
The dullness of the plot put aside, Head Over Heels is disturbing when one considers that a portion of its audience (thanks to the inclusion of Prinze, Jr.) is likely comprised of teenage girls. Through the stereotypical representation of models as gorgeous women who both get everything they want by means of their good looks and are practically drooled over by men, the film sends a potentially dangerous message to this impressionable group. Fraser at one point in the film goes so far as to mock Stanford University (somehow her character was accepted) in comparing the employment value of a college diploma to that of her body.
Head Over Heels isn’t very funny, either. The two most memorable attempts at humor involve the models hiding in lavatories and coming in contact with the product of one of man’s most private of bodily habits, whether by merely smelling it or by actually being covered in it. That the writers rely on such base scatological humor not once, but twice, is testimony enough to their desperation and lack of creativity in trying to get laughs. It’s not hard to tell that they are stuck in the same state of helplessness that the audience is in.
Perhaps the only redeeming quality of Head Over Heels, my first venture into the motion picture realm of Freddie Prinze, Jr., is the fact that it has behaved as a vaccine for me, guaranteeing my lifelong avoidance of any future movie starring the actor. In that sole respect, I suppose it was worth it — but not that much so.
Archived article by Adam Cooper