Dave is a sap.
He’s the kind of guy whose idea of an exciting date includes average pasta at an average restaurant, raving about it for hours.
It’s no wonder he’s no good at love.
Shane Nepveu plays Dave, a guy who, after he raves about the aforementioned average pasta, loses his girlfriend, Denise (Christine Turturro).
She dumps him when his dimwitted raving makes her realize that their relationship started without sparks, and it fizzled even more in the waning days.
Twelve months later, Dave still has a pic of him and Denise as the wallpaper on his phone, and his cousin, Morris (Briana Marin), has had enough.
Trying to get him out of the bubble of misery he’s safely ensconced himself in will take a herculean effort, which is beyond even her commendable skill set.
Morris is the gal who races toward a party and easily becomes its life force. Dave, though, is a wallower, and if there is anything that the life of the party knows, it’s almost impossible to help the wallower.
Enter Bad Cupid.
Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies is far better than the role he’s got in this movie, but he’s been a working actor since 1964. You don’t become a well-known actor without a major success story without sitting on your laurels.
It’s hard to pinpoint when Rhys-Davies became a Hollywood regular. Perhaps in the 1980s, when he was featured in several mini-series (we now call them limited series) such as Shogun and War and Remembrance and features like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark as well as its cheap copy, King Solomon’s Mines.
Rhys-Davies likes to work, and he’s not overly picky about his projects. That kind of sticktoitiveness most certainly ensures that he will elevate an average project when he’s in it.
Rhys-Davies is a damn good actor, and his presence gives Bad Cupid a bit of gravitas. It does not lift it high enough to recommend generously, but Bad Cupid isn’t a Bad Film. It’s just not a good film.
Rhys-Davies is the bad cupid in Bad Cupid. We’ve already ascertained that Dave needs help. Well, Bad Cupid is all over that kind of assistance. He’s not bad in the sense that he fails to target future lovers accurately but that his process leaves a bit to be desired.
It tends to be unlawful, violent, and a little on the bloody side.
No matter how cupids receive their messages, Bad Cupid received Dave’s loud and clear. As it is with cupids, Dave has no idea what the arrow slinger knows or how he knows it, and soon, he and Morris are part of a kidnapping scheme to reunite Dave with his true love.
Rhys-Davies isn’t the only talented actor in the cast. He’s surrounded by others who are competent and engaging. The story isn’t incredibly nuanced, but it does tie together perfectly, which isn’t always easy to achieve.
But as with many low-budget films, this one has some issues. The largest comes with sound production and editing. Indie filmmakers often feel that inserting a musical score will detract from the realities of low-quality sound, but it’s the opposite.
My biggest beef with the film is that they’ve chosen to layer an annoying score over nearly every scene. The approach seems to be reminding viewers that Bad Cupid is a comedy, so if there’s a quieter scene and you forget to keep an eye out for the jokes, a loud chord will remind you.
It’s not only annoying but kind of insulting that those behind the camera believe we won’t catch their drift. And the sounds of this particular score pull attention away from the story.
If the story was that bad, it might make sense, but it’s not, so the extra effort only detracts from enjoying what’s unfolding.
Directors Diane Cossa and Noel Howard, who wrote the movie with former Coach and King of Queens’ coworker Ira Fritz, as well as Anthony Piatek, paced the movie nicely and found a cast that worked well with the material.
Unfortunately, the overpowering score suggests their lack of confidence in the finished product.
Bad Cupid sticks the landing, though, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the team gave it another go to a higher degree of success.
The bottom line? Bad Cupid’s grasp of finding love and living through its failures isn’t lost, and Rhys-Davies is a hoot.
Bad Cupid is available for rent or purchase across most streaming platforms.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.