Though there are several minor stories here, one sucks up most of the screen time. We start with Xavier (Romain Duris), whose career as a writer hasn't exactly been a hit: He's now co-writing a TV soap opera. His love life looks pretty sweet, though: A parade of women who speak every known language. Unfulfilling, but quite interesting for the audience, no?
Actutally far more interesting is the side story of another fellow who becomes enchanted with a Russian ballet dancer, eventually learns her language, woos her on the road, and marries her by the end of the film. It's sweet where Xavier's story is ridiculous and hollow, even at its best.
Russian Dolls fails for all the reasons that you might expect, and for the same reason they never made Singles 2 or Return to Animal House. These characters had their moment of juvenile fun, now they're supposed to be grown-ups. It's just not interesting nor realistic to see Xavier try to choose between the supermodel or the intellectual, even if he has to chase them down the street in the buff. In fact, it's a little bit insulting to think that either would actually be interested in him. Essentially this is Espagnole on repeat, as if the lessons from the former film had been fully expunged after five years on ice. At over two hours long, the story also repeats itself a few times to often.
While the production values are fine and the cast does a decent job, particularly with its insights into European cultural quirks, it's hard to recommend the film unless you're a big fan of the original.
The DVD includes a making-of featurette.
Aka Les Poupées russes.
Run time: 125 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 15th June 2005
Distributed by: Cinema Libre Studio
Production compaines: Lunar Films, StudioCanal, France 2 Cinéma, Canal+, Ce Qui Me Meut Motion Pictures, TPS Cinéma
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 13
IMDB: 7.1 / 10
Director: Cédric Klapisch
Screenwriter: Cédric Klapisch
Starring: Romain Duris as Xavier Rousseau, Kelly Reilly as Wendy, Audrey Tautou as Martine, Cécile De France as Isabelle, Kevin Bishop as William, Olivier Saladin as Gérard, Zinedine Soualem as M. Boubaker, Evguenya Obraztsova as Natacha, Irene Montalà as Neus, Pierre Gérald as le grand-père, Frédérique Bel as Barbara, Cédric Klapisch as l'homme du train, Aïssa Maïga as Kassia, Gary Love as Edward, Lucy Gordon as Celia Shelburn, Martine Demaret as la mère de Xavier, Pierre Cassignard as Platane, Hélène Médigue as Mme Vanpeteguem, la banquière, Carole Franck as la productrice TV, Robert Plagnol as l'auteur de la série, Nicolas Briançon as le réalisateur de la série, Bernard Haller as Michel Hermann, Cristina Brondo as Soledad, Federico D'Anna as Alessandro, Barnaby Metschurat as Tobias, Christian Pagh as Lars, Lannick Gautry as le snowboarder
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