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REELCHICAGO.COM

Friday April 5, 2002

Volume 31, Number 27

PRESENT PERFECT

This 2001 debut feature by local writer-director Matthew Heinze has the amiability and desperation, if not the piquant touch, of Barry Levinson's Diner. Three friends in their 20's-a good-looking romantic (Jason Vizza), a plump nerd (Royal Hebert), and a blue collar worker with a wandering eye (Tony Czyzyk)-hang out at bars, cafes, and house parties, fretting over the timeless issues of love, work and maturity. The film begins haltingly, with banter that recalls any number of indie movies, but some nicely developed scenes add more detail to the characters. The three leads are appealing (though the rest of the cast is wildly uneven), and the sharp, well-lit cinematography by Jayson Crothers makes the Chicago locations, including the Abbey Pub, look glowingly naturalistic. 109min (Ted Shen)

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