In 1992 Gary Sinyor co-directed the admirable first feature "Leon the Pig Farmer" with Vadim Jean ("Beyond Bedlam", "Clockwork Mice"). It was a film that marked them both, along with the late Mark Frankel, as ones to watch. Three years later, Sinyor returned with "Solitaire for Two".
It's a romantic comedy about Daniel (Frankel), an expert on manipulative body language, and his efforts to woo Katie (Amanda Pays), a mind-reading paleontologist. Not a bad premise, but the sheer unpleasantness of Pays' character undermines its playful insights into the trials of a fledgling relationship. Rather than gaining any special understanding from her ESP, she is contemptuous of men's sewer-like minds and routinely assaults them for finding her attractive.
The film at least manages to hold our attention long enough to see them get together, but thereafter things get pretty tedious. By the time dubious 90s pop-novelty act Right Said Fred make an appearance things are downright laughable.
Smooth cinematography and heavy product placement suggest that Sinyor is better suited to advertising than narrative cinema. Particularly attractive is an early scene in which Daniel kick-starts his day to Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug". Sadly, neither this, nor a reasonable supporting cast (Roshan Seth and Jason Isaacs in particular), can save this film from being anything short of a disappointing second feature.
Does this sound familiar? Read about another romantic comedy based on reading a partner's thoughts.
"Solitaire for 2" is on BBC1 at 11.40pm, Thursday 1st February 2001.