“Dorfman In Love” is the latest in a long line of films to pretend that when a plucky young woman isn’t engaged or married, it must be a personal and professional Hiroshima. That woman is Deb Dorfman (Sara Rue), an attractive cubicle drone who slaves underneath her high maintenance brother for what we’re to assume are menial wages before heading home to care for her depressed widower father. Her life revolves around babysitting her embittered, misanthropic pop and longing for the attentions of Jay (Johann Urb), a globe-trotting reporter with Meg Ryan bangs who seems like a tool immediately for having the spliced facial features of Aaron Eckhart and Bradley Cooper.
In between listening to audiobooks of romance novels (do people still do this?), Deb takes it upon herself to remodel Jay’s apartment, a task that brings her in contact with a Sexy Ethnic Dreamboy named Cookie (Haaz Sleiman) who lives next door and takes on casual partners the way we floss our teeth. In case you were wondering, that means every night. You should be flossing every night. Make a note of this; you won’t be reminded again.
Deb’s choice between Jay and Cookie soon becomes the source of non-suspense, forcing director Bradley Leong to introduce what feels like a last minute final-draft addition, the revelation that Deb’s married boss/brother Daniel (Jonathan Chase) is a (PG-13) sex addict who has willingly become the literal whipping boy for a couple of Cookie’s neighbors (Haley Marie Norman and Sophie Monk). It’s not clear how either title reflects on this subplot, which seems to have mixed notions about Daniel as a person: is he a natural hedonist, a pathological liar, or a loving husband who’s been led astray? Lucky for Chase, he gets to play all three! Hooray for acting!
Holding the center of this film is Rue, a prolific journeywoman who has starred in roles of varying size on both television and film, gaining her primary visibility early on as the lead in ABC sitcom “Less Than Perfect.” Her journey is not without struggle, as she battled bullshit industry snark as a “plus-sized” actress for years before finally slimming down. It doesn’t seem fair that her “reward” for achieving both longevity and a body type more “conventionally attractive” than her original attributes is seeing her comedic talents wasted on a script that made her the first person to long for the days of “Less Than Perfect.” Perhaps she leaped at the chance to work with Gould, or maybe they paid her in gold dubloons. Whatever the case, she deserves better than this tedious effort. [D-]