On the Line [2001]

Befitting its boy-band sensibility, On the Line is an amiable vehicle for 'N Sync's Lance Bass, who makes his star-producer debut with this bright-eyed romantic comedy. Bass plays a Chicago adman who meets the girl of his dreams (newcomer Emmanuelle Chriqui) on the "L" train but fails to get her name and phone number. His roommates (including 'N Sync bandmate Joey Fatone) devise a scheme to find the elusive "L-train girl," and like the similarly plotted Serendipity, this love-struck scenario plays out with standard-issue subplots and supporting characters, propelled by a pleasant pop soundtrack and a soulful appreciation for the music of Al Green (who makes one of several celebrity cameos). On the Line was sanitized for a younger audience (with obvious dubbing to replace cruder language), but the squeaky-clean approach is refreshing, even when an end-credit sequence (featuring 'N Sync's Chris Kirkpatrick and Justin Timberlake) suggests a comedic vitality that the rest of the movie lacks. --Jeff Shannon

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