By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on August 20, 2022)
Heartbreakers (Fun City Editions)
Earlier this year, I posted my picks for the top 10 1980s “sleepers”, lamenting about how several of them remained criminally unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray. I was quite surprised (and delighted) to see this 1984 gem finally making the cut.
Writer-director Bobby Roth delivers an absorbing character study about a pair of 30-something pals going through transitions in their personal and professional lives. Peter Coyote is excellent as petulant man-child Blue, a starving artist who specializes in fetishistic female portraiture (his character is based in part on artist Robert Blue).
Blue is nurturing a broken heart; his long-time girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold), tired of waiting for him to grow up, has dumped him. Blue’s friend Eli (Nick Mancuso) is a quintessential Yuppie who lives in a dream bachelor pad boasting a lofty view of the L.A. Basin. Despite being financially secure, Eli is also emotionally unfulfilled. With his male model looks and shiny toys, he has no problem with hookups; he just can’t find The One (yes, I know…how many nights of empty sex with an endless parade of beautiful women can one guy stand?).
Just when the commiserating duo’s love lives are looking hopeless, they both meet The One. Unfortunately, she is the same One (Carole Laure). The plot thickens, and the friendship is about to be tested. Formulaic as it sounds, Roth’s film is a keenly observed look at modern love (and sex) in the Big City. Max Gail (best known for his role on the sitcom Barney Miller) is great here, as is Carol Wayne (sadly, this is her last film).
Fun City used a newly restored 2K print for the transfer (DP on the film was longtime Fassbinder collaborator Michael Ballhaus, and his work here is gorgeous). Extras include new interviews with the director, as well as stars Coyote and Mancuso, and a booklet with several new critic essays.