Dream for an Insomniac
(1996; released 1998)

Dream for an Insomniac video boxStarring Ione Skye, Jennifer Aniston, McKenzie Astin, Michael Landes, and Seymour Cassel.
Written and directed by Tiffani Debartolo.

Grade: F

Review by Carlo Cavagna.

I wish I could write something like, "This film ought to have been called Cure for an Insomniac," but Dream for an Insomniac is not so much boring as it is insufferable. Ione Skye is Frankie, an insufferably depressed young woman who moons about, yearning for the Perfect Boyfriend, quoting depressing philosophers, and wearing early 20th-Century hats. The story develops around a stillborn Frank Sinatra motif that is then repeatedly beaten just to ensure it's dead. Apparently Frankie's Uncle Leo (Seymour Cassel), the one with the ridiculous Italian accent, once met Old Blue Eyes. When David (MacKenzie Astin), our young blue-eyed hero, walks into the coffee shop in a Sinatra Hat to add color (literally, a la Pleasantville) to Frankie's black-and-white world, you'll want to groan in disgust. David immediately begins swapping philosophy quotations with Frankie, so it's clear they're made for each other. Unfortunately, neither character is the least bit believable. They're the sort of insufferably pretentious, urbanite poseurs that insufferably pretentious, urbanite poseurs wish they could be. Ione Skye doesn't help matters by delivering her atrocious lines without a hint of humor, self-deprecation, or sarcasm.

Another problem with Dream for an Insomniac is one that plagues romantic comedies in general. Because there must be a conflict, David already has a girlfriend--a mundane, pragmatic, irritating law-student girlfriend. Our Heroine's romantic rival is written so unsympathetically that there is never a real choice presented to Our Hero. Thus, the conflict is uninteresting and the ending inevitable. It's difficult enough, even impossible, to believe that Our Hero would have been with Law-Student Girl in the first place.

Jennifer Aniston, who plays Allison, Frankie's best friend, is the most watchable person in this movie. Although she doesn't deviate from the well-established Jennifer Aniston persona, she at least appears to be having fun--teasing Frankie and experimenting with funny accents. But the best feature by far of Dream for an Insomniac is its length--only 89 minutes.

Review © March 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.

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