A grownup fat boy in a porkpie hat is looking for a woman in "The Personals."
A vision comes to Bill as he and his best friend jog alongside a lake in Minneapolis, where rollerskating women wend their way through Canada geese in the morning light. Glimmering ethereally, the lake and the light foreshadow a miracle: A man is about to learn to rollerskate in one lesson.
But when rollerskates fail to catapult Bill to success with women, he halfheartedly files an ad in the personals column: SWM 32 years with varied interests including Prokofiev, Red Smith, rollerskating and chicken Kiev.
The first film by Minneapolis' Peter Markle, "The Personals" stars a local cast. It's a sure hit for the Twin Cities, but otherwise an unsophisticated attempt to rollerskate through a mine field. The audience has to decide whether it's hearing jokes or psychobabble, because the straight dialogue comes off as funny.
Bill's "transformation," when he discovers other women exist besides his ex-wife, is demonstrated to an absurd degree through closeups, as he puts in his contacts, brushes his teeth, shaves, blow-dries his hair. Surely he knew to do these things before. But perhaps this is the real reason his wife left him, rather than what she told their therapist: "I don't think that Bill's the right person for me," she'd said with great meaning.
Responses to Bill's ad pour in, letters and photos -- "I'm a legal secretary and that's my dog Muffin." He eventually finds one that appeals to him when he opens a note from a scuba-diving psychologist.
Bill (Bill Schoppert) meets his new friend Adrienne (Karen Landry) at a party she's invited him to. It turns out she is married to someone who needs her too much (but we know who really needs whom).
Well, at least for Bill it was a start, and it's not long before he's lacing up his skates again and getting things rolling. If you want a woman, you gotta have wheels. P.K. THE PERSONALS -- The Outer Circle.