Broken English Movie Review
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.