All's Faire in Love: Film Review

A dinner of week-old turkey legs and stale mead would be more fun than this Ren Faire-set rom-com disaster.

The "Pan Am" star plays a woman who escapes from Wall Street by working at a Renaissance Faire in this Scott Marshall-directed rom-com.

NEW YORK — An astonishingly bad comedy that hardly merits booking on bottom-tier cable, Scott Marshall's All's Faire in Love sneaks into theaters a couple of years after production, presumably in hopes of grabbing a few quick bucks from star Christina Ricci's Pan Am exposure. One imagines Ricci's agents are praying for its quick disappearance. Their prayers will be answered.

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We meet Ricci's Kate in a job interview that ends when, inexplicably, she strips out of her business suit and changes into a flowered dress. It seems she's always dreamed of working at a Renaissance Faire, and the capitalist intensity of a Wall Street interview has finally pushed her toward her destiny.

At the Faire she meets Will (Owen Benjamin), a college jock whose English Lit professor (Cedric the Entertainer) has offered to give him credit for a class he never attended if he'll submit to a summer of mock-peasantry. Viewers who find that premise tough to swallow should head for the exit before Will meets his tormentor, Rank (a desperately unfunny Chris Wylde), and Rank's three sidekicks -- a French dwarf, a cartoonish Chinaman and a Mexican oaf named Jamón.

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From the opening credits -- an animated sequence so crude a junior-high art student would be ashamed of it -- to a climax in which Kate's dog is taken hostage with a crossbow, there's not an ounce of mirth in this parade of ghastly accents, tin-eared romantic montages and dime-store knavery. Even a director whose last film was the Jessica Simpson bomb Blonde Ambition might worry that this is a career-killer.

Opens: October 28 (MGM, Regal Entertainment exclusive)
Production companies: Patriot Pictures, Duke of York Pictures, That's Hollywood
Cast: Christina Ricci, Owen Benjamin, Matthew Lillard, Ann-Margret, Chris Wylde, Nadine Velazquez, Cedric the Entertainer
Director: Scott Marshall
Screenwriters: Scott Marshall, Jeffrey Ray Wine
Producers: Michael Mendelsohn, Ron Singer, Scott Reed
Executive producers: Randy Mendelsohn, Mark Lindsay
Director of photography: Mark Irwin
Production designer: John Collins
Music: Jeff Cardoni, Julian Jackson
Costume designer: Gary Jones
Editors: Josh Muscatine, Tara Timpone
Rated PG-13, 107 minutes