Modern Romance(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 5.2.2006)
Modern Romance is all Albert Brooks, to the point that you'll be left wondering if the title refers to Brooks' love affair with himself. As it turns out, that is the point. In Brooks' estimation, members of the "me generation" of 1983 (the film's release year) were defined by an out of control sense of self-importance, wondering how the rest of the universe couldn't realize that me-ers were at the center of it. Brooks puts himself on the front lines of this observation, once again playing his usual, sanctimoniously neurotic leading man at Def Con 5 levels. But in a stroke of genius, Brooks plays most of the movie off against no one but himself.
Flipping on its head the presumption that a film titled Modern Romance should involve at least two people struggling in love, Brooks breaks up with his girlfriend (Kathryn Harold) to open the film then hilariously crawls inside of his skull for ninety minutes, even as others try to make sense of what's wrong with him.
He asks friends for advice then ignores it. He asks a woman out on a date, only to end the date within minutes of it starting. He can't even get comfortable while alone (and high) in his apartment. Brooks believes modern romance ultimately means either being miserable and alone or feeling trapped, but in a relationship. Twenty years later, Chris Rock would draw a funny variation of this conclusion in one of his HBO stand-up specials.
Sony's loaded this disc up with no extras, but there is a horrible, cornball DVD cover of Brooks making a stupid face with co-star Harold on a roller coaster to look forward to. Let's call this type of humour "broad." Thankfully, Brooks' writing and directing in the actual film is understated, clever, and, sadly, side-splittingly truthful. -- Jason Woloski