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LOVE THE HARD WAY

To make ends meet, a wannabe writer poses as a New York City cop, breaks into hotel rooms where foreign businessmen are doing business with hookers, and shakes the suckers down.


CAST: Adrien Brody, Charlotte Ayanna, Jon Seda, August Diehl, Pam Grier

DIRECTOR: Peter Sehr

"Mr. Brody has followed up Roman Polanski’s powerful, life-affirming ‘The Pianist’ with a bleak, suicidally depressing career mistake called ‘Love the Hard Way.’ In the elevator of success, Mr. Brody has suddenly pressed the down button…Lurid and crudely made, ‘Love the Hard Way’ takes a cynical look at mixed-up, alienated, unfocused young people who are looking for love without commitment …The cinematography is so ugly that the whole movie looks like it was shot through tomato juice…Adrien Brody is hardly my idea of a contemporary Don Juan. He’s tall and gangly, with the bony, protruding look of a scarecrow with four elbows. With too much hair, the nose of a parrot and the eyes of a humongous praying mantis, I can’t imagine why he hasn’t been cast as either Pinocchio or Tartuffe." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"Giving a pretty accurate and woeful impression of an Afghan hound (the haircut doesn't help), Brody plays a Bronx-based petty con man and blackmailer so organically obnoxious that Claire (Charlotte Ayanna), a beautiful Columbia University biology grad student, can't help but fall hopelessly in love with him. Sense? It makes none at all. Because it doesn't, the movie is of the sort that relies exclusively on charm and charisma. ‘Love the Hard Way’ has neither. There's never any reason to care very much about what happens to the people in the film, because Claire's passion is inexplicable, Jack's behavior is inexcusable and the whole thing starts to feel like you're watching someone else's wedding video as narrated by Al Gore." --John Anderson, Newsday

"Brody plays a petty crook with perpetually bad hair who breaks the heart of a dreamy Columbia coed (the affecting Charlotte Ayanna) while quoting Kerouac and saying things like ‘I don’t deserve your tears.’ He doesn’t deserve this movie, either." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"If ever a movie star embodied the lean-and-hungry look that actors consider synonymous with street credibility, it is Adrien Brody, whose character, Jack, in ‘Love the Hard Way’ suggests something sleek and predatory scuttling through an alley to gnaw on a piece of fetid garbage. With his darting rat eyes, raspy voice, sly smirk and street hustler's swagger, Jack revels in the fact that he is bad news…Mr. Brody's charismatic performance more or less holds the movie together. As long as he is on the screen, you can suspend your disbelief and imagine that there might be some reality behind the tantalizing myth of the sensitive American outlaw." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"For a guy with a waist no bigger around than the cigarettes dangling constantly from his mouth, Brody does have a mesmerizing presence and is the only reason to see a film that likely would have gone straight to video if he hadn't won that Oscar for ‘The Pianist.’ As the A student with the F tastes, Charlotte Ayanna gives up buckets of tears, but never makes sense of a character in love with someone whose only saving grace -- he's writing a novel -- is a secret…Nonetheless, Ayanna's Claire does what any well-bred woman with a broken heart would do: She ignores her studies, becomes a thief herself and starts turning tricks. That'll show him. And if you buy a ticket to this mess, that'll show you." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"The wildly uneven romantic drama ‘Love the Hard Way’ is the sort of quirky little indie Adrien Brody specialized in for a decade before becoming an ‘overnight’ star in ‘The Pianist’…‘Love the Hard Way’ is quite watchable for its performances. Former Miss Teen USA Ayanna is especially impressive as a romantic obsessive who sinks into promiscuity and booze in a tragic attempt to reach Jack, a novelist manqué who reads Kerouac in a secret room in a self-storage facility. Ayanna's scenes with Brody sizzle, yet Peter Sehr's direction is often dramatically unconvincing." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"If this adaptation of Chinese punk-lit writer Wang Shuo's fiction doesn't survive its Bronx trick-out, you can't really blame Brody, whose luminous autodidact seems caught between camp and coolsville (and whose ill-advised snakeskin jacket is rivaled in ubiquity only by his bare skin—yup, sis, it's worth a solo rental)." --Laura Sinagra, The Village Voice