Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[Review] Chinese Puzzle

Chinese Puzzle is a mostly accurate title for this French farce, written and directed by Cedric Klapisch. The story is complicated, and there are a lot of small pieces, but none of it ever really fits together snugly.

Xavier (Romain Duris) is a recently divorced novelist living in Paris. His ex-wife, Wendy (Kelly Reilly), moves to New York with their kids, and Xavier follows shortly after. What happens next is a bizarre scattershot of events and loose subplots. Much like the main character, the film meanders, and that doesn't bode too well. After a while, it's easy to wonder, "Where the heck is this all going?"

Audrey Tautou shows up about halfway through the film and injects some charm, but her great presence ends up being under-utilized. And aside from a few bits of poetic insight, Xavier's constant voiceover is mostly unnecessary.

It isn't exactly an excruciating watch though, because the cast is solid, and there are a number of pleasantries, but there just really isn't much to grasp onto. Julie Delpy told a similar story in 2012's charming 2 Days in New York, which worked better on all parts.


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