Mars Callahan's 10-character rant about modern relationships sounds like it was researched by eavesdropping on the rest-room chatter at a high-school prom. Tom Riley (Cuba Gooding Jr.) comes home on Valentine's Day to find his three-year relationship over. Enter his four best friends, who try to cheer him up with a seemingly endless bull session, followed by the arrival of five hot chicks who stop by (inexplicably) to talk about blow jobs. Shooting with four cameras on a single set, Callahan attempts to break his script's stagy monotony by applying Guy Ritchie–style editing to tired—and lengthy—"Isn't it crazy how girls/guys don't understand each other?" speeches. (In another artful touch, the obligatory black female character introduces each new dating cliché with the phrase "Just like my mama always said....") The level of insight and grace in this romantic comedy's dialogue makes the oeuvre of Ed Burns look like Racine. Callahan's previous effort, Poolhall Junkies, was also laughably bad, but at least it featured billiards and Christopher Walken; What Love Is contains lots of talk about balls.
Sorry, wrong number. Gooding dials another misfire.
Opens at Meridian and other theaters, Fri., March 23. Rated R. 87 minutes.