Without a doubt, Greg Kinnear’s most prolific period spanned 2006 to 2008. Up to 2006, Greg acted in about two movies per year with a four-movie blip in 2000. Then Greg ramped it up. From 2006 to 2008, he starred in NINE movies. Most of these movies are good-to-great, highlighted by The Matador, Ghost Town, Baby Mama, and the glorious Little Miss Sunshine. Zooming in, five of the nine movies were released in 2006, three in 2008, and only one in 2007. That loner, Feast of Love, is the topic of this blog and one of the worst Greg Kinnear movies I’ve watched.
I consider Feast of Love part of an unofficial trilogy with Greg’s movies, Stuck on You and Stuck in Love, solely because the titles are interchangeable. Much like Stuck in Love (but completely unlike Stuck on You), Feast of Love is a romantic drama that strives to deliver significant messages about relationships. But unlike Stuck in Love (which was terrific), Feast of Love mistakes relationships for sex and insists that love in the guise of physical attraction must proceed commitment. The movie further tries to entice viewers with a gratuitous amount of sex scenes, which (call me old-fashioned or prudish) I fast-forwarded. But before you stop reading, let me tell you that Feast of Love features a ridiculous plot that I will mock and some of the cheesiest lines Greg has delivered. Join me on this forgettable journey!
Feast of Love (2007)
Directed by Robert Benton, the movie’s tagline is “A story for anyone with an appetite for love.” The movie’s pseudo-narrator and guide to relationships is played by Morgan Freeman. He’s a professor (of something?) with an uncanny ability to predict and diagnose relationships. However, he refuses to provide relationship warnings or advice even when asked–making this Morgan Freeman’s worst on-screen character. He’s also married to Jane Alexander, mourning something that happened with their son, and on leave from his professorship. Via Freeman, Feast of Love explores two sets of relationships: all of Greg Kinnear’s and that of a young couple. While the narratives are intermixed, I will first describe the Greg Kinnear plot (which is just him not being able to read women) and then describe the absurdly ridiculous B-plot of the young couple.
A former student of Freeman’s, Greg Kinnear now manages a coffee shop. He’s been married to Selma Blair for six years and while he’s super happy she feels like this:
Selma’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to have kids and hates dogs, so Greg (obviously) decides to take her to a dog rescue center to conquer her fear. Making an even bigger misstep, Greg later adopts one of the dogs to surprise Selma with it on her birthday. In the meantime, Selma meets a girl in her softball league and the two fall in love and start sleeping together. (Morgan Freeman sees this will happen and says nothing). Greg surprises Selma with the dog on her birthday, and she immediately leaves him.
Greg immediately rebounds by moping about his relationship woes to Radha Mitchell who visits his coffee shop. She’s a realtor so he tries to get close to her by buying a house (because that’s practical). With basically no buildup Greg and Radha decide to get married, even though Radha is having an affair with a married man. On their wedding night, Greg finds out Radha thinks love is a trick nature plays to get people to have kids. Greg is sad, because he was stupid and didn’t ask the kids question before. Six months later, they go to a party and Radha decides to wear one of her love’s shirts. (Which is clearly a man’s shirt that is not Greg’s, but he’s still so dense he can’t figure it out). Radha’s lover and his wife are at the party. The wife sees Radha wearing her husband’s shirt and is not dense. (Not-so-) long-story-short, Radha leaves Greg to go be with her lover.
Then Greg goes home and cuts off his finger with a kitchen knife to feel pain. He immediately realizes this was stupid, goes to the ER, and falls in love with the nurse (Erika Marozsan) who treats him since she DOES want to have kids. Freeman’s narration tells us the two are perfect for each other and they decide to befriend Radha, Selma, and their lovers (because I guess no one else lives in Portland).
To the absurdity of Kinnear’s plot, Feast of Love’s B-Plot says, “hold my beer.” In it, a young couple (Toby Hemingway & Alexa Davalos) start sleeping together because they find each other attractive. On basically their second “date,” Toby tells Alexa he dreams of them making a home together. He also tells her his dad is a drunken, violent drug addict who is nicknamed “The Bat.” Then the Bat discovers Alexa in his house and intimidates her. Alexa and Toby decide to move out and find an apartment.
Problem is, they both work at Greg’s coffee shop and can’t afford rent. So Alexa decides they should make and sell a pornographic video. She asks Morgan Freeman if this is a good idea and he says: “whatever you think.” (The moment he didn’t say no is when I knew his character was trash). They make the video but (surprise!) it doesn’t sell. Feeling sad, Alexa visits a fortune teller (Margo Martindale) who tells her Toby will die soon (!!!) so she should buy him a cheeseburger. Alexa does this, and proposes to Toby.
The two get married. At the wedding, Alexa finds out Morgan Freeman’s son died of a heroin overdose and asks Morgan to adopt her and Toby. She gets pregnant, but three months later Toby dies while playing football. “The Bat” blames Toby’s death on Alexa and comes to her house to cut her up. But Morgan Freeman arrives, punches The Bat, and tells Alexa he will adopt her. End stupid, stupid movie.
What more can I say? Feast of Love eschews any character development and doesn’t offer a single example of a relationship built on love. The editing frequently uses fade-outs for scene transitions that are so long and unnecessary that I hoped each fade-out marked the movie’s end. (By contrast, this editing device was used really effectively in I Kill Giants). One interesting fact is that Margo Martindale plays a fortune teller here, a church elder in (the honestly better GK gem) Heaven is for Real, and the handler of Russian spies in The Americans. I can’t think of an actor/actress I’ve seen in more disparate roles.
Open Your Eyes, Greg!
Without a doubt, the movie’s writer (Allison Burnett) believes she created a character for Greg Kinnear vastly different the one transmitted on-screen. In Allison’s vision, Greg is a man who loves earnestly but fails to “live with eyes open” and fully see his partners. This failure is an innocent one, and as he learns to truly see his partner he can truly love. This intention for Greg’s character is confirmed by Nurse Erika’s lines about him: “[I see] an unusual man. An innocent man. An open-hearted man. Someone who has given tremendous love but never had it returned. Not in the way he deserves.”
Problem is, Greg’s character doesn’t develop and he never learns to prioritize his partner’s needs let alone “live with eyes open.” Instead, he moves rapidly from one relationship to the next, each time moping to gain a new woman’s sympathy/affections. He fails to see that Selma is unhappy in their marriage and hates dogs, and that Radha is having a very obvious affair. If his relationship with Erika works out, it’ll just be dumb luck.
Not surprisingly, clueless and mopey Greg is pretty dull. His best moments were when he gets exuberant, usually whenever he sees old pal Morgan. This is a low benchmark, but one scene and few cheesy lines save this performance from being a Kinnear Jeer. In ‘Classic Greg’ mode, he asks his sister to watch the dog he adopted until Selma’s birthday. Once Selma dumps Greg, he returns to to retrieve the dog for himself. His sister denies this request, saying her son bonded with the dog. In ‘slimy sleuth’ mode, Greg waits across the street until his sister leaves then enters the house and bribes his nephew for the dog. Greg mixes desperation with shamelessness so well and it was a joy to see it in this small scene.
Finally, the writing is so bad that Greg delivers some all-time-cheesy lines. I’ll highlight my two favorites. First, when Greg visits the ER after he cuts off his fingers, nurse Erika (logically) asks him why he did it. He replies,
“I wanted to feel in my body, as much pain as I feel in my heart.”
Then she asks what caused the pain. He says,
“My eyes. I had them closed for so long. The when I finally opened them, I wasn’t ready for what I saw.”
The expression on Greg’s face while he delivered these lines was pure cheese, which is probably the only way he could get through them. Second, Morgan Freeman asks Greg if God hates us. Greg replies,
“God doesn’t hate us…If he did, he wouldn’t have made our hearts so brave.”
- Because their titles are interchangeable, I consider Stuck on You, Stuck in Love, and Feast of Love an unofficial Greg Kinnear trilogy. The first two movies are excellent, but the third very much is not.
- Feast of Love intends to present significant messages about love, but instead mistakes love for lust, lacks any character development, and has a loony plot.
- Greg Kinnear’s character is selfish-in-love, mopey out-of-love, and overall pretty dull. Several cheesy lines save his performance from being a Kinnear Jeer, but it’s close.
- Next up: For movie #30, I need something good. So I’m watching Robots with my daughter.
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