Love Evaluated (2011) – By Josh Samford

Director Larry Greene once again stars in this production, which unlike Dark Shields (also reviewed this month) is much more difficult to try and pin down into a single genre type. Featuring hints of romance, comedy and drama, director Greene uses many of his best talents in order to make something unique and interesting. In a world where romantic comedies have been relegated to the very bottom spectrum of quality cinema, Love Evaluated doesn’t so much as shatter the mold as present something with at least a dash of sincerity, It shows a way to present this sort of story while engaging the audience, rather than simply aiming for the lowest common denominator.

Jayden Banks (Larry Greene) is a relationship counselor extraordinaire. Featured on television in a series of comical commercials, he has proven quite successful within his career. Unfortunately, his own love life hasn’t been quite as successful as those who he has helped to counsel. When all seems to be going well in his career, Jayden realizes that something has been missing. His friends realize this as well and so he is inevitable set up on a blind date with the incredibly interesting Chelsea (Verenice Munoz), who happens to work at a Salon along with his best friend’s girl. The two are immediately intrigued with one another and so they begin to date. As with any relationship though, these two will face many trials and tribulations. However, if it is meant to be, love will find a way.

As with Dark Shields, I must once again commend Greene for choosing a rather stellar cast of regulars within his productions. While the screen time is certainly a bit more focused on the Jayden Banks character instead of being a more ensemble piece, many cast members from Dark Shields do regularly show up and deliver very strong performances. Greene himself slips more comfortably into the shoes of the more gentlemanly Jayden Banks and the charisma he has along with his cast makes him a perfect leader on the set. Verenice Munoz who stars opposite him is a versatile young actress who seems to slip perfectly between the more comedic aspects of the story and the intense drama that comes around for her character. Made only one year after Dark Shields, we find that Love Evaluated sees Larry Green developing much further as an artist. From the performances to the visual quality of the film, in almost all technical facets this is a large step up for the director. The film uses a very unique and deep contrast for the general visual presentation of the movie. The end result is something that looks very polished, and even organic in many ways. The compilation of characters and the individual stories that they tell, along with all of the separated drama (such as the bits and pieces revolving around one girl making trouble at the beauty parlor, or the scenes dealing with Chelsea’s ex-boyfriend) seems to play into Greene’s strongest attributes as a director. He’s a filmmaker that does well when dealing with this high drama, without delving into the hysterics of melodrama.

While it isn’t a title that will blow you right out the door and into the front lawn due to its originality, it does prove to be a strong exercise for an increasingly accomplished cast and crew. If available in your proximity, it’s a strong independent drama with a talented cast and some well written characters. Check it out. You can read more about the title via its official website:

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