Drifting through her office on a cloud of lite rock, Cherish's Robin Tunney plays a character whose attachment to her headphones seems almost biological. Her interactions with humans in general (and men in particular) falling short of satisfactory, Tunney stays tuned to the same station, which plays nothing but love songs, mostly from the '80s. Her life embodies the conundrum at the heart of High Fidelity: Which came first, the music or the misery? Tunney's story takes an unlikely turn, however, after a night that at first seems destined to deepen her woes. As a drunken evening of dancing to the oldies with office lothario Jason Priestley begins to wind down to its inevitable conclusion, Tunney is sidetracked by a mysterious, shadow-cloaked stalker who hijacks her car, forces her to run down a policeman, and then flees into the night, leaving her to take the blame. Her therapist had recommended some quiet nights at home to sort herself out, but Tunney gets more time to herself than she could have anticipated, thanks to a house-arrest program. Cherish, the second feature from writer-director Finn Taylor, is at its best when it lets its incarceration-as-therapy play out at a leisurely pace. Left alone in a run-down loft situated in a shady San Francisco neighborhood, Tunney straightens her hair (inspired by a Drew Barrymore magazine cover), gets to know the neighbors from the confines of her windowsill, and forms a tenuous bond with Tim Blake Nelson, administrator of her security-anklet program. Buoyed by Tunney's charm, Nelson's nicely deadpan performance—and Taylor's weird knack for digging the menace and dread out of so many overplayed songs—Cherish coasts along until, like its heroine, it realizes that it has nowhere left to go. Then, remembering that it introduced a psycho early on, it takes an obvious route. In the end, it becomes the cinematic equivalent of one of the songs Tunney adores: enjoyable enough while it lasts, but so thin that its ingratiating charms seem as much a source of frustration as pleasure.
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