'Tattoo, A Love Story' is fun but not permanent

    A 300-pound tattoo artist addicted to Doris Day movies and an uptight schoolteacher who hates children — this is not your average romantic comedy. It may sound strange, but oddly enough it works. “”Tattoo, A Love Story,”” one of the first films in Madstone Theater’s “”Film Forward”” series, tells the engaging story of these two polar opposites with a good deal of style and humor.

    Courtesy of Tattoo Productions, LLC

    Unlike many of the recent romantic comedies that try and pair up two mismatched singletons, “”Tattoo”” is a brave vision that breathes life into some very realistic characters who actually are different, who have real problems and who don’t make you want to gag. Their stark differences are clearly outlined cleverly and subtly from the very beginning, they are also consistently carried through the film by a talented cast with great chemistry.

    Sara Frost (Megan Edwards) is the beautiful, straight-laced elementary school teacher who is overwhelmed by the large, tattooed Virgil (Virgil Mignanelli) who invades her classroom for show-and-tell. Despite their apparent differences, Sara’s committed eight-year relationship with another man and Virgil’s alternative lifestyle, the two form a strange yet comfortable relationship that ends up scaring them and everyone they know, but ultimately leads to a satisfying ending that, although predictable, distinguishes itself from many other romantic-comedy endings.

    Director Richard Bean’s goal in making this film was to depict an atypical yet relatable romance.

    “”There are lots of tattooed guys in the world, and they’re not all lonely guys. There definitely is a match for everybody, and that’s a challenge. That’s a romantic comedy I haven’t seen. I’ve seen the beautiful people in New York who fall in love; I haven’t seen just normal people … who have a story,”” Bean said.

    Newcomers Mignanelli and Edwards play off each other nicely, portraying a relationship that is believable, if not a little rushed. Mignanelli perfectly pulls off the imposing tattooed sweetie with a soft side, giving his character a great deal of heart and humor.

    For Mignanelli, it wasn’t difficult to play Virgil because his own life experiences were very similar.

    “”It’s not like it was a challenge for me. Because my real life … really mimicked a romantic comedy. The way I met, courted, swept my wife off her feet and slapped a ring on her finger. That was very much a comedy,”” he said.

    As a stringent teacher and control freak, Edwards shows a great deal of potential, although she is a little unnatural in the very dramatic or romantic scenes. But even so, she manages to remain a likeable character with understandable motivations.

    It is the supporting cast that is brilliant and makes this film a real comic gem. Divinely eclectic and strangely realistic, the unique personalities — from the perpetually unconscious stoner Chris (Stitch Marker) to the nymphomaniac online dater roommate Jim (Benjamin Burdick) — add a great amount of humor and character to a film that may otherwise have been simply enjoyable.

    For the most part, the film is well-written with strong characters and a well-developed plot. Even though the film is filled with many cliches, there are plenty of moments and small details that make it incredibly enjoyable.

    The intense shots of the tattooing process and the extreme close-up of a belly button piercing bring suspense and magic to a world that is often seen as seedy. The great cinematography turns this alternative and sometimes dark setting into a fun and oftentimes beautiful place. In addition, skillfully and cleverly shot nostalgic documentary-style pieces are interspersed throughout the film, giving the audience a more personal perspective on tattoos.

    Although this film may technically be a romantic comedy, it is one that will appeal to and please everyone, even those macho men out there who don’t see chick flicks.

    Tattoo , A Love Story

    ***

    Starring Megan Edwards and

    Virgil Mignanelli

    Playing at Madstone Theaters through May 14, Rated R

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal