ON THE LINE **
STARRING: Lance Bass, Joey Faton
DIRECTOR: Eric Bross
RATING: PG for mild language
THE LOWDOWN: Young ad exec meets the girl of his dreams but forgets to ask for her phone number
OK, so it's better than Mariah Carey's "Glitter." But that still doesn't mean that "On the Line," starring two members of the boy band 'N Sync, is worth the celluloid it's filmed on.
The thin-as-a-water-wafer plot revolves around Kevin, an unlucky-in-love young ad exec, played by green-eyed 'N Sync-er Lance Bass, who meets the Al Green-loving girl of his dreams while riding home on the subway one night. They talk. They laugh. They recite the names of every president in chronological order. And we're supposed to believe that this civics' class exchange is laying the groundwork for some hot and heavy romance to come. The only hitch is that Kevin forgets to ask the historically knowledgeable hottie for her name and number.
Not only is this plot contrivance implausible - after all, what guy who can name Millard Fillmore won't remember to ask a girl for her vital info - it sets off an even more ludicrous chain of events that require you to not only suspend your disbelief but send it packing on a mini-vacation.
Kevin and his buddies, including a flatulent friend played by Bass' brother-in-boy-bandom Joey Fatone, begin a quest to find the girl. And while this search involves billboards, botched dates, newspaper columnists, female wrestler Chyna, broken bones and baseball, it never involves the viewer.
The weak storyline also isn't helped at all by the limited acting talents of Bass and Fatone. Bass' emotional range basically has two modes: dreamy and "duh." And Fatone is like the Frat brother you never had and never wanted. When his character, who is the lead singer of a bar band, belts out songs like Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me," Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" and Poison's "Every Rose Has a Thorn," it makes you thank god for teen pop.
The best part of the film comes at the very end after the credits have begun, when Bass and Fatone are joined by two other 'N Sync members, Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick, who play a gay hairstylist and makeup artist, respectfully. This moment manages to be what the rest of the film isn't: funny and entertaining.