I Love You, Don’t Touch Me (1998)

“Boredom … The end of all relationships.”

The film, I Love You, Don’t Touch Me explores that old idea of the confusion of love, romance and sex. Katie (Marla Schaffel) is a 25 year-old office temp who wants to be a lounge singer. She’s a virgin and she’s going to stay that way until she falls in love. She has a platonic relationship with Ben (Mitchell Landon), but he’d like it to be something more. Katie’s best friend Janet (Meredith Scott Lynn) swears that Katie is in love with Ben but doesn’t know it. Ben, unfortunately, doesn’t fit Katie’s romantic ideal, and she’s just not physically attracted to him. Katie selfishly expects the ever-hopeful Ben to always be at her beck and call, and she even sets him up on blind dates with her most unappealing friends. Ben rants and raves to his therapist about Katie’s selfishness, but nothing ever changes.

When Janet and Ben start dating, Katie is stunned and upset. But then she bumps into British composer, Richard Webber (Michael Harris). He’s the ultimate smoothie, and he’s exactly the sort of person Katie should try to avoid.

I Love You, Don’t Touch Me from director Julie Davis is full of cliches, and some of the lines are so old, you can hear them creak. The film, however, includes frank discussions of sexuality, so this is not a goobley-goo romance. The film explores the idea of sexuality and comfort levels in the context of the romantic, intimate relationships that both Katie and Ben want–even though they both seek those things through more sexually adventurous people. One great character is Jones (Darryl Theirse), Katie’s musician neighbour. While, as a friend, he sympathizes with Katie’s dilemma, he also tries to explain relationships from a male perspective. Janet works as a good foil for Katie–Katie wants romance and wooing, but Janet abhors the very hint of intimacy. This isn’t a dating/romance film–it’s a lively look at how one woman has to adjust her notions of romance back to reality while still hanging onto her values.

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