It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"A Pyromaniac's Love Story" starts out like a lighthearted charmer, and then it goes on and on and on - circling the same plot idea so doggedly that I began to wonder idly what it might have been like as a short subject. It doesn't have a mean bone in its body or, for that matter, a brain in its head.
The movie takes place in the Kensington district of Toronto, that charming mix of ethnic shops and open-air vegetable markets. Of course Toronto is never mentioned by name (Americans might not be able to deal with such an exotic location, I guess), but much of the tone of the film comes from the leafy, peaceful streets upon which lovers spill out their secrets.
Much of the story involves a little neighborhood pastry shop named Linzer's, where a young and handsome pastry chef named Sergio (John Leguizamo) works behind the counter. One night a strange blond (Erika Eleniak) walks in off the street and kisses him, but he fails to respond because his heart belongs to a waitress named Hattie (Sadie Frost). "Cupid dances on his eyelids," the narrator tells us.
Meanwhile, old Mr. Linzer (Armin Mueller-Stahl) confesses that his store is going broke, and that he fears not being able to support the wife he loves (Joan Plowright). He asks Sergio to burn down the shop so he can collect the insurance money. The next day, the shop burns down.