Ep 26: Love Potion No. 9

A classic B movie romcom gets the treatment as Lucy and Jenny try to decide why it is that they can forgive a hero for magically taking advantage of 20 sorority girls. Turns out… it’s just magic. Get the podcast: Listen here at PopD | Go to iTunes

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: ~ Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 5

Jenny says: ~ Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 4

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Movie Info:

Release Date: November 13, 1992 Director: Dale Launer Writers: Dale Launer. More info at IMDb.

11 responses to “Ep 26: Love Potion No. 9”

  1. I was so pleasantly surprised by this movie. This was the first time I’d seen it and, you’re right, it really is tight. The economy in the plot and structure is amazing. The mirroring of the characters and their scenes is great. I loved it. And while I believe that they belong together I didn’t get their chemistry together. It’s nearly half an hour into the movie before we see them together and I think that’s too long. I don’t get a chance to see their relationship build as much as I get a chance to see their separate storylines. And while I wasn’t ever wondering when the movie would end I did wonder a couple of times if this might be one of those rom coms on the list where the couple don’t actually end up together.

    Still a great movie and great surprise.

  2. I think that’s the only thing I’d change: I’d put them together more often. I know why it’s not there; they cut this movie to the bone to keep it tight. But even one more scene of them together, or possibly selling the attraction more in the monkey scene (although they do stand very close together comfortably and they’re completely at ease with each other) would have helped. It’s plot heavy because they’re juggling so much stuff, but I think you’re right, they need to sell the romance more. We may end up scaling the romance mark back to a four. But it still averages out to a five in general. If only all romcoms were this well thought out.

  3. I voted it as a 4 because I didn’t feel like I saw enough of them together either. The montage, while cute, didn’t feel like enough to me. I felt like they did a good job showing how in love he was, but less so with her, and I think that might be a function of this being all his POV at the end there. So it just missed establishing the connection I saw with all the other ones that turned out to be 5’s. I still loved it though, can’t believe I’d never seen it before now. I especially loved the Marissa scenes, and how important she turned out to be to the central plot.

  4. I think you’re right, Katie and Stephanie, the romance is a 4 because they weren’t together enough to really sell the pay-off in the ending. Lani tried to tell me that, but we were both distracted during the movie so it was a judgment call. My fault.

  5. Personally, i don’t mind life distractions. Having S&L’s perspectives were valuable to the discussion. It showed that some things are just dag-gone funny.

  6. I’ve been following PopD for quite some time, but never commented before – it’s such a struggle for me to find the right English words to express my thoughts (it’s not my native language). Often there’s someone out there with the same perspective and better way with words saying things I would say, so lurking has worked just fine. This time, however, I have to correct a wrong I did to movie of the week by my vote in the poll. It must have been a gut reaction to your five star ratings that made me go for 2 when 3 is reasonable. Sorry about that.

    I think this movie is far from a perfect romcom. The romance is underdeveloped; it didn’t give me that emotional pleasure that a romance should give. The structure holds well enough, but there are parts where it doesn’t, especially where Gary is involved. First, how did he find out about the potion? A cheap explanation was given – Gary read Diane’s journal – but that raised more questions: how was he in a position to do so and what made him do it? Second, why the hell would Gary suddenly want to marry Diane? All in all, I think he was a poorly written and motivated character, even for a plot device.

    Also, all the running around with the other love potion felt contrived. The “you will love her forever and she will hate you forever” went too far with trying to be dramatic, and at the wedding I couldn’t quite follow who drank what potion and who kissed who and how did what happened then make sense (could be the language barrier, of course).

    The moment Diane was introduced I thought to myself “I hope this isn’t a makeover movie”. But it was, and annoying one, too. Did she really have to be so hopelessly plain at the beginning?

    To end on a positive note I have to say really liked the line about six minutes, too. It was so scientifically accurate of him!

  7. I bought the stuff with Gary. He’d been using her for ten years and he pretty much thought of her as his and suddenly she’s dating the Prince of England? I think he’d need to find out what was going on, and I’m sure he had a key to her place after ten years. They should have set up the journal, but I bought that. Then when he sees her again, she’s not Diane any more, she’s Sandra Bullock, so I buy him deciding to marry her, especially since she’s in love with another man. Men do odd things if they think they’re losing somebody who belongs to them.

    The love potion bit at the end is what Lani means when she says that you have to accept the movie for what it is: a love potion movie (long, long ago in a love potion far, far away). Plus that’s foreshadowed because the stuff in the spray bottle in Love Potion #8. You know 9 is coming up. But yes, the whole sweat of a mule thing skates on the edge. But then the whole movie skates on the edge.

    I do agree with you that the romance needed more depth in order to deliver at the end.

    And your English is perfect, btw.

  8. I’m listening to the podcast and the extended dialogue about the ruffie/date rape function of the love potion, and why we can still like the protagonists.

    Here’s my take on dealing with this aspect.

    This is a story about power that is not earned, but given. Therefore, there’s no discipline on anybody’s part, and therefore no consideration of consequences. At first, power is used to obtain justice. But, the power is absolute & without, at first, apparent consequence, and the users begin to be corrupted by that power.

    That’s why the sorority house scene is so important, and why it makes us uncomfortable. Because this is where Tate’s character becomes corrupted by easy and unlimited power.

    Because this is a comedy, I think there’s an unspoken contract between the writers and the audience that nothing really bad lingers with any of the sorority girls, and that’s why we as an audience can forgive Tate’s character AFTER he had to deal with the consequences of his actions. We still feel a little squicky because we understand, perhaps just unconsciously, that he’s on the down slope to moral bankruptcy.

    It’s not (and shouldn’t be) about making excuses for what he did. He has to redeem himself, and he does.

    Same with Sandra’s character.

    They are nice people, and they are kind people, but power goes to their head, they indulge in weakness, and they lie to themselves about what they are doing. We aren’t rooting with them to succeed in their bad actions, we’re rooting for them to redeem themselves.

    It’s after the sorority house and after the rich guys that both get slammed with the consequences. I think his realization about what icky boyfriend is doing to Sandra’s character and his attempts to fix it is also a tacit apology to the sorority girls (even though it’s not a direct apology to them). I think at the very end when Sandra runs out of the church and into his arms, and she says “I’m sorry” — I think that is also an apology to the men she shouldn’t have taken advantage of and did.

    If it were a drama, it would have been played much differently and you would have seen much different examples of consequences. But the comedy aspect is a promise that nobody deals with serious trauma and the protagonists learn that power is never free.

    I had never really thought about this aspect of the movie, and now I appreciate the subtlety and skill of the writer even more, for getting this point across (at least to me) without beating me over the head with it, and I loved your discussion of this point.

  9. Agree with everything Shawn Reed said. I also think our forgiving them for bad behavior is partly due to the fact that they didn’t start out with that attitude. His first thought wasn’t “I can sleep with an entire sorority house full of coeds now!” Instead he gets eye for an eye revenge on someone who was incredibly and unnecessarily cruel. Also, I think his voice over during the sorority house scene implies that he knows he did something wrong, and he isn’t proud of it. He distinctly says that power corrupted him; he isn’t bragging about it, and we know he learned his lesson. The same with Diane and the car magnate. She wasn’t going to take the necklace until he said he made that awful car, and then we’re with her all the way, because it’s a piece of crap and he owes her for all the problems she’s had with it.