It took about an hour into An Affair of the Heart (12 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at Regal Winter Park; 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at Enzian Theater), DeLand director Sylvia Caminer's documentary/EPK on Rick Springfield and the surprisingly huge gaggle of devoted, middle-aged human-resources reps who follow him on land, sea and air, before I realized that the severe discomfort I endured throughout wasn't entirely due to Springfield's aggressively bland power-pop. It was something more sinister than that, something that comes into greater focus the more the movie goes on. Then it dawned on me: An Affair of the Heart is filmed and assembled with the same pie-eyed worship it attempts to chronicle.
Filmed with the participation of Springfield – and, honestly, why wouldn't he agree to Caminer's incurious, infatuated eye? – presumably in the style of Trekkies or Duran Duran's Something You Should Know, An Affair of the Heart offers zero insight into the man's music or why, aside from the usual, "That album came out at a hard time for me" fan relationships, it mattered then or now. Caminer avoids historical context or talking-head tributes aside from a few seconds' testimonial from Corey Feldman, Linda Blair and former MTV VJ Mark Goodman. So what's it about? Mostly it centers on the brutally uninteresting lives of a few hardcore fans and the casual jealousy Springfield's dominant position in the oversharing housewives' lives creates among their Under Armour-wearing husbands. How does Springfield feel about all this? He loves it! Snooze.
Most troubling is the extensive coverage of Springfield's endless gigging. A concert doc is fine if there's something inherently fascinating about them, or if some moment in history is being captured, but Springfield reliably delivers to the same reliably white-bread crowd again and again, until the camera's unblinking gaze at the musician's impressively fit frame gives away that not only is Caminer way out of the leagues of rock-docists Sam Jones, the Maysles or Scorsese, it's worth wondering whether there were any foundational references or guidelines in Affair's making at all.
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