'Confessions' a gross, dimwitted rom-com
The nonromantic comedy "Confessions of a Womanizer" opens with studly young protagonist Ritchie (Andrew Lawrence) stuck in a jail cell with a transgender hooker named Ginger (Kelly Mantle) just as Ginger drops her undies and relieves herself in a toilet.
"Ahhh," Ginger coos. "That was an awesome (urination)!"
"Confessions of a Womanizer" never recovers from this off-putting beginning, which is neither as funny nor as amusingly infantile as it must be to match anything in the Judd Apatow/Farrelly Brothers repertoire of endearingly gross rom-coms.
Lawrence, mostly a television actor with credits in such shows as "Castle," "Hawaii Five-O" and "NCIS Los Angeles," is a charming performer with dreamy eyes and a faint resemblance to movie star Brendan Fraser.
He's stuck in a sputtering, nudity-free sex film about arrested adolescence and the inability of men to commit to women while pursuing condom-free encounters.
Blame it on his philandering, florist-shop-owning dad (C. Thomas Howell in a goatee and bizarre sunflower-designed company shirt). In flashbacks, little Ritchie and his brother witness Dad screaming at Mom for committing culinary crimes against eggplants every night at the dinner table.
Dad shacks up with other women, guiding young Ritchie into a string of girlfriends, among them the Bella Twins, Jillian Rose Reed and Patricia De Leon.
"Confessions" comes from indie writer/director Miguel Ali, whose screenplay, despite its promising and timely subject of treating women as conquests, reads like a first-draft of a rejected "SNL" skit.
The dialogue lacks zing and wit. Character arcs become character flatlines.
Even Gary Busey, playing himself as Ritchie's dimwitted but avuncular romance coach, appears to have been beamed in from a funnier film to offer relationship advice.
Ali is nothing if not optimistic. He has started an Academy Award campaign for Busey as best supporting actor and for Mantle as supporting actor and/or actress.
"Confessions of a Womanizer"★
Starring: Andrew Lawrence, Gary Busey, C. Thomas Howell, Jillian Rose Reed, Patricia De Leon
Directed by: Miguel Ali
Other: A Mogar Pictures release. Not rated, but contains mature language, sexual situations. 90 minutes