Broken English

"Grim"

Broken English Review


Don't you just love Parker Posey? She's such an original talent, and it's irksome to see her do so well in a film that just doesn't cut it. Broken English plays like a tired retread of Sex and the City, with all the same preoccupations and issues but with none of the fun. Posey gives it her best shot, but she has little to work with.

Nora (Posey) is a thirty-something hotel concierge specializing in VIP guests, but her life has little glamour. When not tending to the VIPs, she's home drinking red wine, popping sleeping pills, and wondering why she can't find just one nice man. A fifth-anniversary party for her best friend Audrey (Drea DeMatteo) adds insult to injury, even as her own mom (Gena Rowlands, director Zoe Cassavetes's mother) tries to cheer her up.

Nora is so vulnerable that street-smart though she is, she happily falls into bed with a charismatic actor named Nick (Justin Theroux) who has checked into the hotel. The morning after he's full of false promises, and she totally believes him. Wow, she enthuses. I have a famous actor boyfriend. When all that falls apart pretty much instantaneously, she's worse off than ever.

That's when Julien (Melvil Poupard) sweeps in. An impossibly and effortlessly sexy Frenchman, he meets Nora at a party and is fascinated by her. But no matter how cool, easygoing, and straightforward he is, Nora is not going to be burned again, so she resists as long as she can. Even when she finally caves, she knows that Julien must one day return to France, and what then? His answer, "Come with me, bien sur." (It's just like Sex and the City!)

Nora doesn't leave New York right away, but eventually she and Audrey have a Parisian adventure full and emotional ups and downs. Sad to say, the movie crumbles in its final minutes when it leaves what has been its firm grounding in reality and floats an absurd only-in-the-movies coincidence followed by a happy ending that someone like, say, Carrie Bradshaw had to work a lot harder to achieve. Any woman of a certain age who has sympathized with Nora all along the way is sure to shout "baloney!" (or something similar) at the screen when Broken English takes its abrupt final turn.

It's frustrating. Cassavetes starts off very much on the right track, and Posey creates a real woman (although she certainly is movie-star thin) with real problems. When the movie turns out to be so unreal, it feels like a gyp.

A pot pie by any other name.



Broken English

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 16th July 2008

Box Office USA: $0.8M

Budget: $2M

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Vox3 Films, HDNet Films, Backup Films, Phantom Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Zoe Cassavetes

Producer: , David Atlan Jackson, ,

Starring: as Nora Wilder, as Audrey Andrews, as Mark Andrews, as Vivien Wilder-Mann, as Julien


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