Friday, March 27, 2009

Shall We Kiss? (Un baiser s’il vous plait) FRENCH

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Strangers Spend Evening Mulling Illicit Kiss in Platonic Romantic Romp

While in the city of Nantes on business, Emilie (Julie Gayet), a cosmopolitan Parisian, impulsively accepts a ride from a handsome stranger (Michael Cohen). In the close confines of the car, the two feel an instant attraction and, without even exchanging names, decide to take a detour together from their respective destinations.
Over a cozy candlelit dinner in a local restaurant, she soon admits that she has a boyfriend back home, while Gabriel owns up to the fact that he’s in a committed relationship, too. Still, that doesn’t discourage him from asking for a farewell kiss at the end of the romantic evening when they are about to go the separate ways.
She hesitates, explaining that, although their mates might never learn about the indiscretion, a secretly stolen smooch often has unanticipated consequences. And to prove her point, she starts to spin an intricate tale about what happened to a “friend” who made the mistake of thinking she could cheat safely on her spouse as long as she kept the affair strictly physical with no feelings or strings attached.
Thus, with Gabriel impatiently waiting to lock lips, Emilie buys time by morphing into a latter-day Scheherazade, the legendary virgin-turned-Queen of Persia who became the pick of the Arabian king’s harem by telling him a different story for a thousand and one nights. However, this heroine not only keeps her solicitous suitor at bay via a distracting series of flashbacks, but the entire audience as well, since for the next 100 minutes, the only question on the cinematic table we really care about is whether or not she’ll give the guy a kiss.
After chatting away ad nauseam, she even has the nerve to lay out a set of rules, like “no names,” “no feelings,” “no facial expressions” and “no goodbyes.” This drains the passion out of the prolonged seduction to the point that the perfunctory peck proves to be anticlimactic when it finally arrives.
A French chick flick designed to keep soap opera fans on the edge of their seats while watching for a couple of guilt-ridden cold fish anguish over whether to share just one kiss. For the sequel, get a room!

Fair (1.5 stars)
In French with subtitles.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: Music Box Films

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