Two Girls and a Guy - * 1/2*

Two Girls and a Guy is an odd and pretentious character drama that can’t quite sustain interest beyond its first thirty minutes. In fact, reading the scandal sheets about its star, Robert Downey Jr, would probably create a more lively experience.

The film opens with two women standing outside an apartment in New York City. There’s Carla (Heather Graham), who is seemingly quiet and reserved. And there’s Lou (Natasha Gregson Wagner), bounding with energy and a non-stop talker.

After a little introductory chit-chat, the two discover that for the past year they have been unknowingly sharing the same boyfriend, actor Blake Allen (Downey Jr.). Shocked and upset, the two decide to confront Blake about his roguish activities.

But confrontation doesn’t seem to be enough. In the ensuing argument/conversation that follows, the two girls try to discover the reasoning behind his behavior.

The action of Two Girls and a Guy is confined to one set, Blake’s apartment, and, aside from a few minor roles at the very beginning, is limited to the three main characters. There’s a lot of talking in the movie, and its not very good (or even revealing) conversation.

The movie might stir some interesting comparisons between Robert Downey Jr himself and the self-destructive character that he plays. But that is really the only interesting thing about his character. The movie never inspires the kind of curiosity about Blake that Carla and Lou evince.

As for Carla and Lou, they don’t quite hold their end of the show either. Natasha Gregson Wagner fares the worst. In the opening scenes, she recites her lines with the liveliness of cue cards. To be fair, she gets somewhat better in subsequent scenes, but is never fully convincing in the role. Heather Graham does a better acting job, but is stuck with the film’s least interesting (and most perplexing) character.

Director James Tolback directed Downey Jr. once before in 1987’s dull The Pick-Up Artist. The second time’s not the charm here.

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