The Sandra Bullock Files is a series that looks at the films of Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, all the way from her debut in 1987, to her two major 2018 releases, Ocean’s Eight and Bird Box.
Easily the most obscure film Sandra has made since the early stage of her career is the 2006 drama Loverboy, starring Kyra Sedgwick, Matt Dillon, Oliver Platt, and Marisa Tomei, and directed by Kevin Bacon. The film received an extremely limited release in theaters before it quietly disappeared into the bottom of DVD dollar bins. Telling the story of a neglected daughter named Emily, who years later becomes a possessive mother, Loverboy is a moderately entertaining but mostly unremarkable film that features Sandra in a small but pivotal role as Mrs. Harker, a neighbor of young Emily (Sosie Bacon).
She is featured in two flashbacks. In the first, she rubs a bruise on Emily’s leg and walks her to the school bus. Wearing a morning bathrobe and sporting a big and wild hairdo, she acts in her first minutes of screen-time the kind of sexily confident character she rarely plays in the movies. In the second scene, she chats with Emily on her lawn and plants on her a big wet kiss. Lit like the early morning sun is beaming down on them, and with a yellow filter applied to the scene, Sandra has rarely looked so luminous. Her screen-time amounts to barely three minutes in the entire film, but her quiet, tender performance is effective nonetheless.
Loverboy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2005, then had a limited run in Los Angeles and New York in June 2006. During this latter time, I attended a screening at the Arclight Hollywood, where the director Bacon was in attendance for a Q&A following the film. It was a packed house of moviegoers who were probably more interested in seeing Bacon in person than seeing the movie itself, and the Q&A did not disappoint, going for at least thirty minutes. He answered questions about the look of the film, the origins of the film, but all I cared to ask was the obvious: how and why did he get Sandra for this super brief role?
“I was really impressed with Sandra Bullock’s performance,” I said to Bacon, who sat quietly up on the stage. “I was just curious how she came to be in the movie.” Bacon answered that he was friends with Sandra, and that he called her out of the blue and asked her if she would come out to New Jersey and play a part in his theatrical directorial debut. He said that she only worked two days on the movie and that he too enjoyed her performance and what she brought to the role.
What is most notable about Sandra’s participation in Loverboy, as well as in Crash, is that she is not afraid to take a small part in a film if she believes in it. This was the stage in Sandra’s career when she was passing on romantic comedies and mediocre scripts in order to revamp her career, and although Loverboy didn’t make much of an impression at the time, for Sandra die-hards it offers a compelling character, Mrs. Harker, who is unique enough to warrant a longer subplot, or maybe even her own movie.
Best Scene: Sandra sits on her front lawn with her wheelchair-bound son.
Best Line: “Don’t let any boys give you trouble, okay? All you have to remember is that deep down inside, they’re all afraid of girls.”
Loverboy opened in limited release on June 16, 2006, the same day that The Lake House opened nationwide.
The film grossed only $30,000 at the box office.
Actors in the film include Bacon’s wife Kyra, his daughter Sosie, his son Travis, and his brother-in-law Robert. Also, Bacon’s brother Michael provided the music score.
Sandra’s name or likeness was not featured in any of the movie’s advertising, including the theatrical trailer.