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Mercy Film Review

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Writer Falls for His Worst Critic in Bittersweet Romance Drama

Johnny Ryan (Scott Caan) is a very successful romance novelist living in Los Angeles who, ironically, has never actually experienced love himself. Instead, the handsome hunk has contented himself with a series of shallow one-night stands which have never evolved into a substantial relationship.

Everything changes the night of the launch party for his latest best seller, when he has his head turned by Mercy (Wendy Glenn), a gorgeous brunette with a clipped British accent. For as he exchanges pleasantries over wine and cocktails with the mysterious stranger, Johnny finds himself feeling a warm and fuzzy sensation he's never known before. That would be a crush.

But what Johnny doesn't know is that Mercy's a leading critic from New York City who has already published a scathing review of his new book. However, the truth coming out does nothing to discourage him one iota from pursuing the sudden object of his affection. Even in the face of her caustic comments like, "You write about love, but don't know how to spell it," he remains resolved to win her heart before she heads back to the East Coast.

Nonetheless, Mercy is not one to be so easily convinced that a Neanderthal she considers "a walking contradiction" might have changed his stripes. And when she ignores Johnny's begging to stay in L.A., he gets so desperate that he threatens to kill her if she follows through with her travel plans, but to no avail.

With Mercy gone, he initially attempts to revert to his womanizing ways only to encounter erectile dysfunction issues for the first time in his life. So, he consults with his English professor father (James Caan), who is no help, since the best advice he can muster up is trite poster speak such as "Love is a myth." Obviously, Johnny just have to have that girl who's gone back to the Big Apple.

Thus unfolds Mercy, an engaging character-driven drama directed by Patrick Hoelck but written and produced by Scott Caan. Caan must be credited for fashioning a vehicle which fits him to a T, and for surrounding himself with a decent cast to execute his vision, especially Wendy Glenn in the title role.

A sentimental sitdram which seeks to answer whether a long-distance liaison between an artist and his worst critic has a fighting chance of blossoming into love? A question satisfactorily answered by this bittersweet romantic romp about growing up, albeit belatedly.

Very Good (3 stars)
In English and Korean with subtitles.
Running time: 87 Minutes
Distributor: IFC Films

To see a trailer for Mercy, visit:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

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