Love Object (2003)

Author: Josh G.
Submitted by: Josh G.   Date : 2008-03-29 11:58

Written and Directed by: Robert Parigi
Starring: Desmond Harrington, Melissa Sagemiller and Udo Kier

Reviewed by: Josh G.

Never judge a book by its cover. I guess the same can be said for movies. When I borrowed five random horror movies from a guy I knew, I quickly looked through them and my mind was made up. ďOh? This one stars that guy. It looks good.Ē I was continuing to skim through. ďIíve heard of this. It could be alright.Ē Somehow, I knew a future reaction of mine. ďA foreign film and its sequel? They both look ridiculous, but perhaps they are cheesy goodness.Ē And then, I came across Love Object. ďOh God! Not one of these films. The lame, purposely messed up title, with scratches, the modern shady spotlights, and a plot that was made simply to exploit nudity. Itís going to be a long night with this shit.Ē Again, I say, never judge a book by its cover.

Lonely Kenneth (Desmond Harrington) canít find a woman. His love life is craving sexual desires, and above all, a relationship. Heís an independent man who has just found out that his boss at work (Rip Torn) has teamed him up with an intern, Lisa (Melissa Sagemiller), for a project. His work buddies leave behind a card referencing a $10,000 sex doll, named ĎNikkií, to meet his every need. Kenneth canít take it anymore, and goes to the sex dollís website. He can do anything to alter its features, including change its hair color, lip form, breast size, and more. When it arrives in a wooden box at his apartmentís front door, his neighbor (Udo Kier) is more than a little curious. Kenneth opens the box, and thereís Nikki. Blonde and grey eyed, it's an exact replica of Lisa!

After the Lisa lookalike doesnít turn out to be what he expected, he demands a refund, only to be shut down because used products cannot be returned. When he looks in the box, thereís a manual on how to use Nikki. Kenneth begins to form a sexual relationship with the doll, and he talks to her, believing that she is speaking back to him. His performance at work is improving, and soon, he and Lisa are getting closer. He begins to spend more time with Lisa, and that makes Nikki mad. The doll is apparently furious with Kenneth, and plans to punish him for forgetting her. She wants Lisa out of the picture! Realising Nikki is psychotic, he chops her into pieces and dumps her in the garbage. Free to be with Lisa, Kenneth forms a stronger relationship with her, no longer needing any sex doll. However, things take a turn for the worst, and when Lisa finds out he made a sex doll out of her, she wants nothing to do with him. Being fired from work, with no Lisa, and a lack of a sexual relationship, Kenneth knows what he must do. And it will tear Lisaís world apart!

Similar to 1980's Maniac, in the sense that both films' lead psychos appear to be anything but abnormal to everyone around them, Love Object is a delightful glimpse into the life of paranoias. It does have some major predictability issues, which you know very well that the doll is not alive, even though the movie tries to make you think of that as an alternate option. The twist at the end could be seen clearly, five minutes away. Itís a character study, and it boasts very good performances by both Harrington and Sagemiller. Itís also a believable story, which boosts the creepiness way up. Itís not a scary flick though, and it almost comes off as a delusional drama. Luckily, you get so involved with the main characters, that when something happens to them, caring is almost an automatic reflex.

Released by Lionís Gate, the DVD comes with two commentaries, interviews, a video scrapbook, a photo/poster gallery, and trailers. For a film about sex obsession, this sure doesnít have a lot of nudity. A couple of real boobs compared to multiple drawings and anatomically correct dolls isnít much to cheer about if youíre really into it, but based on dear Nikki herself, I think Love Object's scale deserves some high end satisfaction. Udo Kier, as the nosy next door neighbor, is spot-on. He's odd and curious on one end and turns into a thoughtful human being as the plot carries on. The only real complaint about how it was shot, is the beginning; where the camera is supposed to have a set of calm shots, the picture seems to have a case of mini turrets, if you look close enough. Teetering on the dividing line of bloody and just barely sick, Love Object is a wonderful psychological thriller with surprisingly excellent direction and witty writing. This is one sex doll you will want to mess with. Buy it!

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