Hot or not?
Movies often are convoluted because people think that's interesting. The more bits for the audience to get its collective head around, the more they'll talk about it and theoretically drum up more business.
A Pyromaniac's Love Story is at once, complicated, but also very simple. The plot is built upon the backs of two "couples" who don't actually know each other - and I put that in quotes because one couple hasn't progressed past the "just friends" stage, and the other couple is, well, ambiguously not together.
The setting is a pastry shop, where our protagonist Sergio (John Leguizamo) works. The shop burns down the first night after we pick up the story, coincidently after the owner had suggested to Sergio that he start a fire because the business was running out of money.
What follows is a farcical sequence of different people turning themselves in, claiming responsibility for the fire, all apparently for (mostly) selfless reasons.
The theme of the movie ends up springing from Garet (William Baldwin), the wacko (I could choose a more dignified term, but the character isn't all that dignified) who actually started the fire - and he says he did it for love. That's what the whole movie is trying to be - a complicated story about the simple feelings these characters have for each other.
On the surface, that's a great way to map out a romantic comedy, but everything depends on the execution. Leguizamo and Sadie Frost fill the role of the movie's "straight-men". Baldwin and Erika Eleniak are supposed to be funny, but they are playing way over the top with material that is too thin for that treatment.
Here's a nitpick I doubt too many people will bother to notice. It's a shot that looks fake - a rail car with one of those over head power grids, showering sparks as it moves slowly away. The sparks are falling from the power lines from the foreground, where the car had been, to much deeper in the scene where the car is moving. With the focus on the rail car, the nearby sparks are blurred and appear as though they were added later as an effect - which I highly doubt is how they did it. They should have done something to get a longer depth of field to make those foreground sparks look real.
The real problem with the film is that the script's complications don't illuminate anything. The characters are crying out for some decent exploration, but it doesn't happen.
If you can take the film at face value, it runs its course fairly well, and has some cute moments. For all its complications, there's no depth to the story or the characters.
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