The Learning Curve

The Learning Curve is yet another film that makes people wonder why some films get a wide distrubition and others do not. This film is by no means a great film, or even a mediocre one. Yet, it fits perfectly at home with the hundreds of other films that go direct to video and starring semi-recognizable Hollywood B-actors who may or may not go somewhere in the future. The story and acting are subpar, along with mostly everything else in the film. Still, it somehow made it into theaters, and it should make a very quick exit. This is the first time out as writer and director for Eric Schwab, and his inexperience shows. On the bright side, he is capable of making a movie, and should, with some practice, be able to make a better one.

The movie is about the whirlwind romance between Paul (Carmine Giovinazzo, Terror Tract, For Love of the Game) and Georgia (Monet Mazur, Blow, Angel Eyes), two young people skirting the edge of society. Paul works as a janitor in a hospital, and its never clear what Georgia does. What is clear is that the two have a dubious regard for the law. They meet when Paul rescues Georgia from a date gone bad. The date runs off, but not before dropping a large amount of money. Paul and Georgia realize the monetary potential in this, and start instigating small time scams together. Their schemes are relatively lucrative until they try to scam Marshal (Vincent Ventresca, Madison, Love and Sex). Marshal runs a small music label, and is essentially a richer, better educated version of Paul.

Paul and Georgia, recognizing that Marshal represents even more money and power, agree to work for him, pulling small scams. This is where The Learning Curve turns into a joke. Marshall pulls them ever deeper, and Georgia begins to have second thoughts. Stealing money from thugs is one thing, turning into a thug is another. Meanwhile, the Paul loves his new identity and the new money and power he has. The job is driving a rift between Paul and Georgia, as Georgia wants to get leave and Paul wants to stay. The jobs that Marshal want Georgia and Paul to do becomes increasingly ludicrous and Paul's denseness becomes increasingly annoying. Once Schwab kickstarts the subplot involving a new mall Marshal wants to build, things hit rock bottom. Marshal needs land, which means evicting existing tenants from some run down stores. He also needs to pay off the city coucil, so they will approve his plans.

The action becomes corny, the dialogue cornier, and the decisions these people make are a joke. Everything revolves around Ashley (Majandra Delfino, Traffic, The Secret Life of Girls), an aspiring singer and daughter of one of the coucilmen. Marshal wants to sign her in exchange for approval on his project. It's also never clear where Georgia's priorities are. Okay, so it's fine to shake down men, but where is the line between extortion on a small level and extortion on a larger level? Will she go back to petty crime or does she want something new? Schwab bases her relationship on such shaky ground that it's impossible to fathom why she just doesn't leave Paul instead of constantly beg him to go with her. Aside from the fact that Mazur and Giovinazzo are eye candy, they have no chemistry and little command of the screen. Marshal is a one-note villain, and even less interesting than the main characters.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 53 minutes, Rated R for language, violence, some sexuality, and drug content.

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