Whenever a character in a movie has Tourette's Syndrome, there is an immediate cause for worry. Tourette's is often used to get easy laughs in a comedy. People often find someone cussing at random moments and spastically twitching extremely funny. Maze is a different case. Instead of using Tourette's as a joke, it uses it for the other main reason that actors make these movies; to prove they can act. Rob Morrow stars, directed, and wrote (along with Bradley White) Maze, and turns it into his own little vanity project. The reason this is such a vanity project is because aside from Morrow's (Other Voices, Into My Heart) performance, there is little else interesting in the movie. The story is a standard love triangle, where this time, one of the participants has Tourette's.

That man is Lyle Maze (Morrow), a gifted artist. Because of his condition, he finds it hard to keep friends as well as models for his art. He is reluctant to take drugs to control his condition, because he is afraid it will affect his art. His only friends are Mike (Craig Sheffer, Hellraiser: Inferno, Deep Core) and his girlfriend Callie (Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me, The House of Mirth). Mike is a doctor who frequently spends months outside the country volunteering for Doctors Without Borders. Callie is increasingly frustrated with Mike, and when he announces he is going to Africa for seven months she breaks things off and neglects to tell him that she is pregnant. With Mike gone, Callie turns to Lyle. Lyle is attracted to Callie, but recognizes the danger to his friendship with Mike if he makes any sort of move. His resolve not to fall in love weakens as the months pass and the two spend more time together. Lyle becomes the husband figure in Callie's life as well as the surrogate father to the unborn child. However, the more that Lyle and Callie fall in love, the guiltier Lyle feels about Mike.

With a set-up like this, it's obvious that Mike will return and that there will be some sort of confrontation. And hey, he'll return right around the time the baby is born. It's also obvious who Callie will choose at the end of the movie. Everything is so cliche that it makes the movie dull to watch. It begins with the set-up, moves into conflict, and then ends with the ooey-gooey ending. The performances by Morrow and Linney do elevate quality of Maze. Linney is great, giving another good understated performance as Callie. What hampers her is that the material is not strong enough for her acting abilities. Morrow never overplays Lyle. He wants to make sure that Maze is a movie that is not about Tourette's, but about a man who just happens to have this condition. He makes whooping and popping noises (especially when nervous) but otherwise is another eccentric artist. So if the movie is not about Tourette's, then what is it about? Apparently, a cheesy love story. Morrow even tries to show the viewer Lyle's perspective by using a grainy, digital camera and a constantly veering perspective. The screen becomes like the movie, they are both wildly erratic.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 38 minutes, Rated R for language and nudity.

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