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On the Line

Film poster
Directed by Eric Bross
Produced by Lance Bass
Robbie Brenner
Bob Osher
Andrew Panay
Johnny Wright
Jeremy Kramer
Written by Eric Aronson
Paul Stanton
Starring Lance Bass
Joey Fatone
Emmanuelle Chriqui
Jerry Stiller
Music by Stewart Copeland
Cinematography Michael Bernard
Editing by Eric A. Sears
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) October 26, 2001
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10,000,000 (estimated)

On the Line is a 2001 American romantic comedy film starring Lance Bass and Emmanuelle Chriqui. The film was directed by Eric Bross and was written by Eric Aronson and Paul Stanton, based upon their short film also entitled On the Line.

Contents

Plot

Bass plays Kevin, an advertisement employee, who meets a girl named Abbey (Chriqui) on Chicago's El train and is too shy to ask for her phone number.

The film starts with Kevin is on stage performing at a high school grad party. He sees the girl he likes and his bandmates try to get him to sing to her and ask her out. He becomes nervous, ends up seeing himself naked in front of everyone and faints. Fast-forward 7 years and Kevin's in advertising. He makes a pitch for reebok which gets shot down, but eventually used in the meeting by his "partner" Jackie who presents it as hers at the last minute. As he takes the train home from work he meets Abbey. They hit it off talking about their interests, which are all the same (the cubs, al green). As they go their separate ways they hesitate but eventually leave. They each go home and discuss the encounter with their friends.

After the meeting at work where his pitch is stolen he gets upset for not sticking up for himself. He decides to try to find Abbey by making posters and placing them all over town. He goes out with a few random women who answer the call, none of which are Abbey. The local newspaper finds out about his search and sets up an interview. The reporter Brady Frances (Dan Montgomery Jr.) is an old classmate who hates him. (In high school Brady asked a girl out to prom and she promptly asked Kevin who was standing nearby, then returned to Brady and said she was taken.)

The article comes out in the paper and Kevin gets hundreds of calls, which leads to his dateless roommates — aspiring musician Rod, played by Joey Fatone; Eric, played by GQ; and art nut Randy, played by James Bulliard — suggesting they date all the callers to help. Eric has the idea shot down when he originally pitches it to Kevin, but while Kevin is at work one day, Eric calls, and asks him to reconsider. It is poor timing, as Kevin is having a conversation with his boss, Higgins (Dave Foley). When he gives a "Yes" answer to a question from Higgins, Eric hears him on the other end of the line, and hangs up.

A follow up article comes out in which Brady presents Kevin as a loser, which makes even more girls call. Brady gets more upset when his girlfriend Julie (Amanda Foreman), who is rather bothered by his still-intense grudge against Kevin, takes Kevin's side.

While the search is going on Abbey is having problems with her boyfriend of 3 years, who she was visiting when she met Kevin. Her boyfriend buys tickets to an Al Green concert and flakes out on her. Kevin is also at the concert but they never see each other, despite several close calls.

Soon, Eric, Rod and Randy begin taking calls from many girls, and going on dates with them, for their own enjoyment (although some of the dates were quite strange) and to find Abbey. One of the girls is actually Abbey, who gets mad when she finds out Kevin's friends are taking the dates. Another girl who answers the call is Brady's girlfriend Julie. When she tells him the friends are answering the calls and dating the girls Brady writes another article declaring the scam.

At work Reebok decides they won't work with Kevin once the article comes out and he is taken off the project, even though it was his idea. After work Kevin sees Abbey waiting for the train. He tries to get her attention but she doesn't see him till she's getting on the train. He runs to get on but the doors close. As he knocks on her window she smacks the paper with the headline "Train Man Scam" against the window as the train pulls away. He talks to Eric about it and Eric finally tells him she did answer the call and they went out. Kevin punches Eric and leaves.

His friends, who feel guilty about the whole situation, decide to search for Abbey themselves. They put up their own posters, with a hand drawn image of her, and ride the train for days. At first people aren't interested in helping, until Eric makes a speech about being in love, ending it with, "Love may not make the world go 'round, but it's what makes the ride worthwhile." He gets a standing ovation from everyone on the train except Abbey, sitting in stunned silence behind the other passengers.

Things continue going downhill when Kevin learns his best friend at the agency, Nathan (Jerry Stiller) suffers a heart attack. Kevin goes to see Nathan at a rehab facility, where Nathan tells him the story of both meeting his wife at a Chicago Cubs game, and catching a home run from Cubs legend Ernie Banks the same day, and how the two tied together. He gives Kevin the baseball and tells him to try to find Abbey again.

Things soon start going uphill for Kevin. For starters, he is put back on the ad campaign project (his former "partner" who got a promotion because of the pitch has him reinstated and apologizes). He gets put in charge of the billboards for the ad, and changes it to an apology for Abbey asking her to meet him at the station at 7. The billboard is all over town and the media wait with him at the scheduled time.

After 15 minutes of Abbey not showing up, the TV crews start packing up and the spectators begin to disperse, but all stop when Kevin picks up a paper airplane thrown by Abbey telling him to look up. Kevin races up a flight of stairs to a breezeway over the tracks, where he asks Abbey for her name, and number. Abbey responds with, "Abbey, and I'd thought you'd never ask." They then kiss, much to the delight of the crowd at the station, and to the television viewers at home, and in a bar where his roommates are watching.

Life also gets better for Rod and Randy. Randy meets a girl at the bar while watching Kevin's meeting with Abbey, and finds that she, too, is interested in art. Meanwhile, Julie dumps Brady for Rod, who is offered a contract to the record label owned by his idol, Mick Silver (Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora), saying he liked Rod's demo tape, which Kevin sent in. Brady is given an advice column in the Living section of the Chicago times newspaper.

Cast

Filming locations

According to a DVD release, the film was shot in Toronto, Canada and Chicago, Illinois.

Reception

The film was produced on a budget of US$10 million. Miramax marketed the film heavily towards 'N Sync's teen fans, and the film's soundtrack featured songs by teen pop sensations Mandy Moore and BB Mak, along with previously unreleased tracks by 'N Sync and Britney Spears. However, the film was a box-office flop, and grossed only $4.3 million domestically.

The film was heavily criticized, especially by star critic Roger Ebert, who said the film was "...an agonizingly creaky movie that laboriously plods through a plot so contrived that the only thing real about it is its length."[1]

Trivia

During the credits of the film, the film features a comedic clip of Lance Bass and Joey Fatone who played two of the main characters being made up by fellow 'N Sync members Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick. Justin and Chris played wardrobe managers to great effect yet the last 'N Sync member JC Chasez was unavailable and was not present.

The original screenplay for the film would have received an R rating but was rewritten to a PG so that it could be marketed to 'N Sync fans.

The short film on which the film was based starred Troy Garity, Charlie O'Connell, and Eric Michael Cole.

References

External links

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