Dorfman in Love (2011)

Deb Dorfman (Sara Rue) is twenty-seven, single and living with her grumpy father (Elliot Gould) in a run-down apartment building in the valley. She cares for her dad, but he’s unappreciative of the fact that she’s devoted her life to her family rather than herself.

Desperate to strike out on her own, even if just temporarily, Deb volunteers to house sit for the man she has unrequited feelings for, self-absorbed journalist Jay (Johann Urb). He lives in downtown LA and needs someone to watch his cat while he’s out of town. She readily agrees, as she always does, being the good friend/pushover that she is.

(Image via aceshowbiz.com)
(Image via aceshowbiz.com)

Settling into a loft for a few days may not seem like it would be a life-altering event, but for Deb, everything about life as she knows it is about to change with the help of Jay’s neighbor, Cookie (Haaz Sleiman).

Dorfman in Love was written by Wendy Kout (Anything But Love) and directed by Brad Leong (Palo Alto, CA).

While Dorfman in Love does have a lot of traditional rom-com elements at play, the film largely focuses on Deb’s transformation rather than her love life. She gets to know herself better, finds confidence and realizes that she needs to push herself out of the box and live a life of her own. As a 20-something who just began my second semester of graduate school, I found her character to be very easy to relate to.

Elliot Gould’s performances as Deb’s father is very good, and the rest of the performances are decent as well, nicely suited to the story that is being told. Sara Rue is a solid lead for the film.

There is a little bit of corn to Dorfman in Love, but nothing too over-the-top. Pretty much every word of dialogue that comes from Cookie is contrived. There’s a cheesy makeover, with Deb getting a chic haircut and a red dye job and learning to put on makeup. (However, this scene is directly addressed through dialogue as being a cliche!) There’s also some strange product placement for the LA public transportation system, the Metro. “No stress, no mess!”

If you can look past the little bit of corn, though, Dorfman in Love is a nice, feel-good film with some truly funny moments. (One quip: Deb’s dad, after her makeover, asks her if she’s trying to pick up sailors.) It’s a decent, cute movie that makes a nice diversion for a rainy afternoon. The score: 3/5

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