Directed by Cameron Crowe. USA. 1992.

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Cameron Crowe takes a witty and affectionate look at the singles scene in Seattle. Most of the story revolves round the inhabitants of a smart apartment block, which starts promisingly with witty stories told to camera by the main characters. This is followed by short, funny episodes that are introduced by such titles as 'Have fun, stay single'. 

As the film progresses we discover that all the main characters live in the same block and know each other. But, the film doesn't know what to do with all its characters and wastes them with a patchy structure that is vaguely held together by the on/off relationship between environmentalist Linda (Kyra Sedgwick) and transport planner Steve (Campbell Scott).

The film focuses on well-off, white, middle-class twenty-somethings who are not really single as the title suggests. They are all part of heterosexual couplings, but they aren't always sure who their 'better half' should be. We are not even given a very good idea of what Seattle is like - the film could have been set anywhere in the U.S.A. Since the characters are portrayed as lacking any real conflict, pain, worry or trouble the viewer can't be bothered about them. If you compare this with the sheer pain and pleasure depicted in Gregory’s Girl or the brazen style of Strictly Ballroom this is exceedingly bland and unrewarding.

To conclude, I simply cannot understand the ecstatic reviews of this film. Parts are funny but it runs out of steam very quickly. There is no sense of place, and we never really worry about the rocky relationships suffered by the characters.

Nigel Watson

Nearly ten years after it's release we can see that this formula was to be highly rewarding for comedy TV series like Friends, and for Frasier, which is also set in Seattle.
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Material Copyright © 2001 Nigel Watson